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    FILE - This July 15, 2013 file photo shows cans of Coca-Cola in Doral, Fla.

    'There is Trust Issue Here' - Scholar on Coca-Cola's Revelation on Its Packaging

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    Coca-Cola has revealed for the first time it produces 3m tonnes of plastic packaging a year as a report calls on other global companies to end the secrecy over their plastic footprint. Sputnik discussed this with Dr Sharon George, Course Director for the MSc in Environmental Sustainability and Green Technology at Keele University.

    Sputnik: Coca-Cola has revealed for the first time it produces 3m tonnes of plastic packaging a year — equivalent to 200,000 bottles a minute — as a report calls on other global companies to end the secrecy over their plastic footprint. How significant is this revelation and how does it compare to amount of plastic packaging used by other global brands?

    Sharon: It's not really that surprising. The way that we use in plastic bottles has been rising exponentially it has to be to the route of third of all pollution that we find in the oceans is made up of plastic bottles.

    This is a trend using plastic bottles. It's so convenient so it has become so widespread. This is not a big surprise and, in fact, we are predicting that trend unless we find a big solution soon is going to continue and we are estimating you know, by the year 2021, we're going to be using something like 583 billion and bottles.

    Sputnik: Can we see more companies and massive global brands actually revealing how much plastic they use?

    Sharon: I think we will start seeing this because we've had such public scrutiny into packaging and we're seeing public distrust in companies.

    I think this move to transparency is quite a smart move at the moment and I think by them saying like this is how big our problem is, I think the public knows that there is a trust issue here.

    READ MORE: New Zealand Signs Global Declaration Taking on Plastic Waste

    We've seen this with other kinds of plastic packaging is why we're seeing that with crisps packet and you know I think the public see images of ocean plastics to see those disturbing images of wildlife being hurt and they want to do something.

    At the moment as well the recycling systems that we have been shown to be wholly inadequate, you know, there was a big scandal about the fact that the plastic that we thought was going off for recycling wasn't always ending up where we thought it was and I think that is really walked public confidence and we're seeing that moment in public services being stretched.

    So at the moment there are different councils we examining their recycling services and we can even cut back so rather than that you know before we could just put all of you recycling and just it will just disappear it away.

    I think we're fast coming to realise that there is no such place away now this stuff once it's manufactured has to go somewhere.

    READ MORE: Norway Probes Coca-Cola Over Targeting Children With 'Unethical' Ads

    Plastic bottles are highly recyclable as a waste that they are not as problematic as some of your some of the other packages that we deal with so I think by Coca Cola public shade and this how many they're producing what would be nice to see is that the other end of where those plastic bottles and dark and how many of those and back in the recycling system.

    Sputnik: Coca-Cola is one of 31 companies — including Mars, Nestlé and Danone — that have revealed how much plastic packaging they create as part of a drive for transparency by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation which ask companies to incorporate long term aims such as eliminating excess waste. Could we see any punitive actions taken against Coca-Cola?

    Sharon: I think that's quite a tricky move to do and you know sort of actions against a company unless they were without solid solutions to do something about it I'm not sure they actually solve anything I think what we need to say assistance that actually works in terms of having this circular economy.

    Coca Cola is a product it needs some form of packaging, so unless they have a solution to that plastic it's not an easy problem to go you know it's not an easy ask of them.

    Unless they go in here there's a move could go towards glass but that comes with its own challenges two classes heavier so you have a higher transport cost then you've still got a recycling problem at the end of that product lifecycle so you know it's not an easy thing.

    I think punitive actions go some way to nudging positive behavior but I'm only thinking part to the solution.

    I think we need a whole raft of solutions that go right the way through the supply chain and in our waste systems as well so it's not so bad that we're using this plastic only interface so we the only problem is it whether it is that the carbon us to make it and then that product then being classed as we use it as a single-use plastic the ends up going into the waste stream, and we're only recycling a fraction of that waste globally.

    The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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