CANADA – Greenpeace, a non-governmental environmental organization, has released an audit which said that Coca Cola, PepsiCo and Nestle are the top three contributors to ocean waste and pollution.

According to the organization, together with their partners in the Break Free From Plastic movement, they enlisted the help of 10,000 volunteers across 42 countries to embark on the world’s most ambitious plastic clean-up and brand audit project yet.

Nine months, six continents, 239 clean-up events, and more than 187,000 pieces of trash later, they had the most comprehensive snapshot to date of how corporations are contributing to the global plastic pollution problem.

They are, in order from most to least commonly found in global brand audits:

  1. Coca-Cola
  2. PepsiCo
  3. Nestlé
  4. Danone
  5. Mondelez International
  6. Procter & Gamble
  7. Unilever
  8. Perfetti van Melle
  9. Mars Incorporated
  10. Colgate-Palmolive

According to Greenpeace, Coke-branded plastic was not only found in 40 of the 42 participating countries, it’s the only brand to rank in the top three on all six continents (just missing Antarctica, but unfortunately there’s plastic there, too).

Just last week, the crew on board the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise even found an intact Coke bottle in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, hundreds of kilometres from any inhabited land.

“As some of the largest companies in the world, Coke, PepsiCo, Nestle, and the others on this list have the chance to be part of the solution to the plastic crisis. Instead, they remain a part of the problem, selling us plastic drink containers and packaging we have no choice but to throw away.”

According to Reuters, all three companies have made pledges about their packaging for 2025, to which Coke says all its packaging will be recyclable, Nestle says it will be recyclable or reusable and PepsiCo says it will be recyclable, compostable or biodegradable.

“We share Greenpeace’s goal of eliminating waste from the ocean and are prepared to do our part to help address this important challenge,” a Coke spokesman said in a statement.

The company has pledged to collect and recycle a bottle or can for everyone it sells by 2030.

Nestle, the world’s largest food and drink maker, said it recognised the issue and is working hard to eliminate non-recyclable plastics, and added that it was also exploring different packaging solutions and ways to facilitate recycling and eliminate plastic waste.

PepsiCo was not immediately available to comment outside regular U.S. business hours