These guys are the champions alright.
They can definitely say they have left their mark.
Literally. On the whole planet.
Millions of years from now as archaeologists are studying our civilization they will have plenty of coke bottles, McDonalds wrappers, bottled water containers, Bic lighters and pens to memorialize us with.
Hopefully they will find some of our art and music in all of that as well.
Well, for better or worse, Black Friday/Cyber Monday has kicked off and we are going into the Christmas holiday season.
As shopping season has kicked off this season, I want to raise awareness to all the trash that is made from all those shiny new presents and even basic consumer products we use day to day.
Amazon oversaw the biggest haul ever as they have gained more market share from traditional retailers and brick and mortar closes up shop around the country. E-commerce has 25% higher return rates for products than the 7% for traditional retail. Some of this makes its way to overstocked warehouses, discount stores and thrift stores, but larger and larger amounts of these NEW products are going to landfills or being incinerated.
Buying apparel this season? It is the biggest source of waste as fashion cycles have sped up, and returns are incredibly high due to mis-sizing. Better technologies can improve this and ways to reduce returns. For the holidays to start, maybe a gift card or money to a loved one could help reduce return waste. I know I would return most of the clothes secretly my parents would give me due to style or bad fit.
There are innovative companies out there finding better reuses and ways to manage waste streams, but here is a list of some of the biggest producers of garbage. In follow up blogs, we will have companies doing better, solving problems and covering technologies that could help.
According to The Street, "To find out which companies produce much of the plastic that ends up in the environment, Break Free conducted an audit of plastic pollution in 42 countries, collecting more than 187,000 pieces of plastic trash and identifying thousands of brands whose packaging relies on the single-use plastics.
Participants in the cleanups were trained to define their cleanup area, collect all waste found in that area, count and record the brand, parent manufacturer, product type (food, personal care, or household product), and packaging type for each piece of waste collected. The most common types of trash they found were plastic food wrappers, bottle caps, bottles, plastic bags, straws, lids, utensils and other plastics.
Above, participants cleaned a stretch of beach on Freedom Island along Manila Bay in the Philippines over eight days in 2017. They collected a total of 54,260 pieces of plastic waste.
Based on the October 2018 report by Break Free from Plastic, these are the brands that appeared the most in all 42 countries".
Let the list of shame begin!!!!
Honorable mention goes to.....
These contenders are special; according to a report, they are responsible for a whopping 14% of branded plastic waste worldwide!!!!!!!!!!!
Reducing or eliminating your use of these products would make a big difference, but definitely recycle them!!!
1. Coca-Cola - headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia no explanation is needed, but they should have a polar bear perched on a trash pile instead of an iceberg on the commercials!!!!
2. Pepsi-Co - owns many companies besides its well-known soda business
Sabra Hummus Dips
3. Nestle - huge company with brands ranging from many consumer staples;
Cerelac, Gerber, NaturNes
Nestlé Pure Life, Perrier, Poland Spring, S.Pellegrino
Cheerios, Fitness, Lion, Nesquik Cereal
Chocolate & confectionery
Aero, Cailler, KitKat, Milkybar, Nestlé Les Recettes de l'Atelier, Orion, Quality Street, Smarties, Toll House
Nescafé, Nescafé 3 in 1, Nescafé Cappuccino, Nescafé Classic, Nescafé Decaff, Nescafé Dolce Gusto, Nescafé Gold, Nespresso
Culinary, chilled and frozen food
Buitoni, Herta, Hot Pockets, Lean Cuisine, Maggi, Stouffer's, Thomy
Carnation, Coffee-Mate, La Laitière, Nido
Milo, Nesquik, Nestea
Chef, Chef-Mate, Maggi, Milo, Minor’s, Nescafé, Nestea, Sjora, Lean Cuisine, Stouffer's
Boost, Nutren Junior, Peptamen, Resource
Dreyer’s, Extrême, Häagen-Dazs, Mövenpick, Nestlé Ice Cream
Alpo, Bakers Complete, Beneful, Cat Chow, Chef Michael’s Canine Creations, Dog Chow, Fancy Feast, Felix, Friskies, Gourmet, Purina, Purina ONE, Pro Plan
4. Danone - Paris, France based consumer company; brands include;
5. Mondelez International
Mondelez is an American multinational confectionery, food, and beverage company based in Illinois. Brands include;
This Japanese-owned convenience store sells many brands so I'm making an assumption that these are 7-11 self-branded items.
7. Procter & Gamble
The Cincinnati-based company makes dozens of well-known American brands, including Bounty, Crest, Tide, Febreze, Dawn and Swiffer.
Europe's seventh most valuable company, Unilever's products include food and beverages, cleaning agents and beauty and personal care products. Brands include:
Axe/Lynx, Dove, Omo, Heartbrand ice creams, Hellmann's, Knorr, Lipton, Lux, Magnum, Rexona/Degree, Sunsilk and Surf.
9. Perfetti van Melle
The privately-held Dutch company makes candy and gum. Mentos and Airheads are the biggest US-known brands but they have many more global brands.
10. Mars Inc.
A few of Mars' products include Snickers, Twix, M&Ms, Dove, Altoids, several gum brands, a range of international food brands, and several pet foods, including Iams, Eukanuba and Pedigree.
Colgate toothpaste, palmolive soap, softsoap, brite, speedstick, lady speedstick, Toms of Maine, Irish Spring, Ajax, and Pinesol to name a few.
12. McDonalds Corp - Pretty self-explanatory they sold billions of burgers. It was in their slogan, but they've also left bilions of hardboard boxes, wax paper, ketchup packets, cups and straws in their wake as well.
To be fair, most of these are consumer staples and food which is of a highly disposable nature. I'm sure many other companies would have no problem leaving equal trails of trash if it was necessary.
We can do better and clean up our act. As business owners, workers and consumers we should purchase with more intent and demand better. There are biodegradable alternatives and ways of making less trash. We should hold corporations accountable, but we have power in our buying habits and in lobbying them to create less waste.
I know this is not popular to say, but we also need to be willing to pay a bit more for better alternatives. A race to the bottom of food pricing and consumer products has companies prioritizing the cheapest means and that usually mean more garbage unfortunately. A company will have to charge a little more to use bio plastic made from corn or you may have to bring your own bag to the grocery. Inconvenience and paying a little more is worth preserving the planet. We pay a very small portion of our income to food and consumer staples nowadays compared to our ancestors so maybe its time we make some trade offs!
And always buy local when you can :)
Have a good holiday season and Merry Christmas from Wi-Buy!
More to come on more topics and....
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