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A Coke bottle made with plastic from the sea

Coca‑Cola’s bottle made using recovered and recycled marine plastics was announced with media fanfare. This attempt to garner praise for a small contribution to a big problem that Coca-Cola has helped create is straight out of the greenwashing playbook. Making products out of ocean plastic may raise awareness but it doesn’t tackle the root cause of the problem and will not turn off the plastic tap.

The greatest irony of this is that Coca-Cola’s own bottles regularly come up as some of the most commonly found  marine litter  and that Coca-Cola has been named the world’s worst plastic polluter for four years in a row in Break Free From Plastic’s brand audits. While Coca-Cola has spent years undermining systemic regulation to address plastic, they use distraction tactics like this packaging to make you think they’re committed to change.

At the time of this announcement, Coca-Cola were part of lobbying efforts to undermine a deposit return system in Spain – the very country, where they collected ocean plastic from to create these products. A deposit return system is one of the most effective legislative mechanisms to prevent plastic pollution in the first place.

For more on Coca-Cola lobbying in Spain read our investigation More Trash, More Cash

Ocean plastic