New York state sues PepsiCo over plastic pollution

New York state has sued PepsiCo over plastic pollution along the Buffalo River, which is reportedly poisoning the water and endangering wildlife.


The lawsuit claims that PepsiCo is the single largest identifiable contributor to the situation.

According to a spokeswoman for PepsiCo, the company has been "transparent in its journey to reduce use of plastic."

Coca-Cola, Danone, and Nestle were accused last week of making false representations about their plastic bottles.

PepsiCo is the world's second largest food company, and many other large firms have been sued by municipal governments over their environmental impact.

Greenwashing occurs when a company portrays something as more eco-friendly, green, or sustainable than it actually is. It has the potential to mislead consumers who seek to benefit the environment by purchasing those things.

"No company is too big to ensure that their products do not damage our environment and public health," said Attorney General Letitia James.

Her staff discovered that PepsiCo's single-use plastic packaging was the most significant in an assessment of all forms of debris gathered at 13 sites along the Buffalo River last year.

"Of the 1,916 pieces of plastic trash collected with an identifiable brand, over 17% were produced by PepsiCo," according to the report.

Other well-known brands include McDonald's and Hershey's.

PepsiCo manufactures, produces, and packages at least 85 different beverage brands and 25 snack food brands in single-use plastic containers, according to New York state. In a statement, Pepsi stated it was "serious about plastic reduction and effective recycling."

It went on to say that this was a "complex issue" that required the participation of "businesses, municipalities, waste-reduction providers, community leaders, and consumers."

According to the lawsuit, microplastics have been identified in Buffalo's drinking water supply, which "can cause a wide range of adverse health effects, from reproductive dysfunction to intestine inflammation and neurotoxic effects."


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