Despite all of the pledges that Coca-Cola made, the Coca-Cola Company increased its use of plastic packaging by 9%. With these news, the Atlanta-based beverage company is retaining its place as the top plastic polluter on the planet.
According to a report by ocean conservation group Oceana, Coca-Cola's 9% increase amounted to 263 metric tons, meaning that annual plastic waste went from 2.96 million metric tons in 2020 to 2021's 3.22 million metric tons.
Oceana's report also said that Coca-Cola had failed to meet pledges that would see it increase the use of recycled plastics in packaging while decreasing its use of virgin plastics.
"How can the company use an additional 500 million pounds of plastic in one year and at the same time consider itself to be addressing its plastic problem?" asked Oceana Director of Strategic Initiatives Dana Miller.
"Bottles with recycled content will still be thrown away, sent to landfills, burned, or littered. Some of these will end up in our oceans."
The report offered a solution to Coca-Cola's plastic problem, saying that reusable bottles would be a good place to begin.
A single reusable plastic bottle can be used around 25 times, which would eliminate 24 one-time-use bottles. A glass bottle can be used up to 50 times. If Coca-Cola was to increase their use of reusable bottles in their coastal markets, that could mean a potential 22% reduction in marine plastic bottle pollution.