PepsiCo was sued by the state of New York for polluting the Buffalo River with plastics. The state authorities accuse the company of polluting water and harming wildlife. The lawsuit says PepsiCo is the largest identifiable contributor to the problem.
A PepsiCo spokesperson told the BBC that the company “has been transparent in its actions to reduce plastic use.” PepsiCo is the world’s second-largest food company, and many other large corporations have faced lawsuits from local governments over their environmental impact.
“No company is too big to ensure that its products do not harm our environment and public health,” said Attorney General Letitia James.
There is a lot of garbage left after PepsiCo products
When her office conducted a study last year of all types of waste collected at 13 locations along the Buffalo River, it found that the most significant was PepsiCo single-use plastic packaging.
“Of the 1,916 plastic waste collected with a recognizable brand, over 17 percent were manufactured by PepsiCo,” according to the New York State Attorney General’s Office. Other recognizable brands include McDonald’s and candy maker Hershey’s.
According to New York State, PepsiCo produces and packages at least 85 different brands of beverages and 25 brands of snacks, which are shipped primarily in single-use plastic containers. The company said in a statement that it “takes seriously the reduction of plastic and effective recycling.”
It added that this is a “complex issue” requiring the involvement of “businesses, municipalities, waste reduction actors, community leaders and consumers.”
The lawsuit alleged that microplastics were found in Buffalo’s water supply and “can cause a range of adverse health effects, ranging from reproductive harm to enteritis and neurotoxic effects.”
Accusations of greenwashing against other companies
The BBC also reminds that last week Coca-Cola, Danone and Nestle were accused of making misleading claims that their plastic water bottles are “100% recycled”. A consumer organization and two environmental groups have filed a legal complaint with the European Commission over alleged greenwashing.
Companies are accused of greenwashing when they advertise something as being more environmentally friendly, green or sustainable than it actually is. This may mislead consumers who want to help the planet by choosing these products.
Main photo source: New York State Attorney General’s Office