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Coca-Cola Tops This Worst List Yet Again

When it comes to plastic waste, being #1 isn't all that great.

Coca-Cola may be the number 1 soda in the world, both by sales numbers and by brand value. But there's another, less flattering list that the namesake company has topped this year. According to the latest audit report conducted by Break Free From Plastic, an organization looking to solve the plastic pollution crisis, Coca-Cola has been ranked as the world's top plastic polluter for the third year in a row.

Analyzing 346,494 pieces of plastic waste collected by groups of volunteer waste pickers in 55 countries, the report found that 13,834 (about 4%) were branded as Coca-Cola products. The number added up to more plastic waste than could be ascribed to any other company. PepsiCo and Nestlé, which took second and third place, had less plastic waste combined. (Related: 8 Grocery Items That May Soon Be in Short Supply.)

"The world's top polluting corporations claim to be working hard to solve plastic pollution, but instead they are continuing to pump out harmful single-use plastic packaging," said Emma Priestland, the global corporate campaigns coordinator for Break Free From Plastic. "Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestlé should be leading the way in finding real solutions."

While Coca-Cola may be the biggest contributor of single-use plastic to the world's landfills, the company is making higher-level strides toward correcting course and contributing plastic-alternative solutions to the consumer packaging universe.

Earlier this year, the company presented a paper bottle prototype which is in its early stages of development but is already posed to influence the future of bottle design, and bring the company a step closer to achieving its World Without Waste target: to collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle or can it sells globally by 2030.

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Mura Dominko
Mura is a Deputy Editor leading ETNT's coverage of America's favorite fast foods and restaurant chains. Read more
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