Every year we host The #PlasticCapChallenge, in which we try and limit our plastic consumption and encourage others to do the same. We’ve raised a few thousand dollars during these challenges, we’ve heightened awareness about plastic consumption, and we’ve tried to spotlight major pollution issues as well as steps to make things better. We’ve talked to professors, scientists, and scholars about global warming, and the horrendous effects that will continue to come our way if there aren’t major changes immediately! The situation is disastrous.
The consensus seems to be that the most important step we can take is to elect officials that understand the urgency of the moment, folks who are willing to force companies to stop unsustainable practices.
Major polluting companies have been given decades to make measurable changes and mountains of evidence to support the need for change. What have they done with all that time and information? Profit!
There’s been a push to place the burden of change on the consumer to recycle or use plastic alternatives going all the way back to the 1970’s. Meanwhile lobbyists have been pushing for laws that outlaw the restriction of plastics especially plastics that have no chance of being recycled. In fact, 18 states now have preemptive laws stopping local regulation against single use plastic.
This seems akin to reading a shitty book, then accepting the blame for its shittyness because we should have arranged the words in a way that made the book less shitty. Meanwhile the author is encouraged to write nothing but shitty books which we are then forced to read because there are laws created by the shitty author preventing alternative books from being written. Also, instead of just being a shitty book, the words are polluting the globe to the point that there will be more plastic in the ocean (by volume) than all the fish combined by 2050.
Who is the shittiest author of them all, who is the #1 global polluter? Coca-Cola. 200,000 metric tons of botched plastic waste is created by Coca-Cola every year. Plastics from Coke, along with Pepsi, Nestle, and Unilever end up being burnt due to lack of recycling thus creating 4.6 million tons of CO2 in developing countries every year. There are no alternatives, recycling is not an option in third world countries. Companies like Coca-Cola are fantastic at saying they are aware of the problem, and promise to make X changes by year Y. But when they fail to meet their self-initiated goal, what are the repercussions? Nothing. Just make another goal for some other future date.
It may be impossible to know the cost benefit analysis for companies like Coca-Cola, and it may be impossible to know how long they have known how harmful their products are to the environment and the consumer. To call Coke the bad guy is pointless because contrary to what the justice system might say, corporations aren’t people. But since the 1970’s Coke has been run by people who were and are fully aware of the negative environmental impact of Coca-Cola packaging and products. Despite that awareness they consistently put profit over people. Thanks for that Coke!
It’s worth noting that in the early 2000’s Coke faced allegations of illegal soil and water pollution as well as severe human rights violations. They even faced a lawsuit which claimed that they openly engaged so-called “death squads” to intimidate, torture, kidnap, and even murder union officials in Latin America, which was eventually dismissed.
Aside from the global pollution, Coca-Cola could certainly brand itself as a leader in personal pollution as well. It has been established that sugar filled drinks have astoundingly negative effects on our bodies. Tooth decay, increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and associations with cancer are just some of the endearing qualities associated with sugary drinks like Coca-Cola. And of course, right there at the center of the health concerns are Coke execs lobbying to sway the standing on how sugary drinks affect public health. All while making ads that seem to target kids. Classy move Coke. Classy move!
It’s still important to do our part. It doesn’t hurt to try and recycle properly and raise money for entitles trying to make the planet a better place. But there is only so much consumers can do so long as corporations continue to display their allegiance to profit. Or so long as our laws allow them to continue to profit from pollution.
Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey was compensated $17,623,796 in 2020 for a company that has a net worth of $230,000,000,000. I’m not sure what the best solution is, but with that type of money maybe Coke can try and figure it out. Maybe the people at Coke can look to make a real and significant difference now, instead of moving the goal post every time they fail to meet their arbitrary future goals.
I wonder what this world is going to look like when Coca-Cola has a net worth of $300,000,000,000?
Coca-Cola has over 200 brands in over 200 countries, here are a few just in case you want to look for alternatives.
|Smart Water||Minute Maid||Innocent||Simply||Topo Chico||Fuze Tea|
|Honest||Powerade||Ciel||Fresca||Peace Tea||Gold Peak|