The non-profit environmental group The Earth Island Institute has filed a lawsuit against ten major companies for their contribution to the plastic pollution crisis.
The lawsuit includes the major companies Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Nestlé, who according to an international audit are responsible for 14% of the plastic that pollutes the oceans.
The lawsuit, which was filed in California state court last week (February 26), aims to sue these companies for public nuisance, breach of warranty and negligence claims.
This lawsuit follows a similar effort to hold Big Oil, Big Tobacco and Big Pharma to account for their knowing contribution to public harm and their efforts to obscure those harms and deflect blame.
According to the institute, in the case of plastics, these companies are responsible for a misinformation campaign based on the idea that their plastic is recyclable, and that any shortcomings when it comes to recycling are those of the consumer and not the producers.
According to members of the Earth Island Institute, of the 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic that has been produced since 1950, only 9% has been recycled.
The rest has either been incinerated, a practice that raises a host of environmental concerns, or ends up as waste.
By suing these major corporations, the institute hopes to use the money made to clean plastic out of the oceans and waterways.
Sumona Majumdar, general counsel for Earth Island said: ‘Fundamentally, the lawsuit seeks to hold corporations accountable for their share of plastic pollution and their claims that plastic packaging is recyclable.
‘For too long, they have pushed those costs onto the public, that includes non-profits like us that are using charitable funds to clean up their mess.’
Josh Floum, president of Earth Island’s board of directors said: ‘This is the first lawsuit directly to take on these plastic peddlers who for years have spread the fake narrative that their products can be recycled when they know in many cases this is simply not true.’
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