As a whole, the UK produces 2 million tonnes of plastic waste each year. With the seeming societal push towards sustainability, there is a focus on individuals making more effort towards reducing their carbon footprint.
However, it’s major corporations that are producing the majority of plastic waste.
Coca-Cola can be attributed to the majority of this overall waste, with 3 million tonnes of plastic being produced annually by the company alone. Pepsico, Nestle and Unilever are also major contributors to the plastic waste issue.
These numbers may come as shocking, especially when society has become so aware of the increasing need to reduce our plastic waste. If these numbers seem too large to put into perspective, Tiger Plant hire has calculated how many diggers it would take to pick up all of the plastic waste from the last 12 months.
The operating weight of a 14-tonne Kobelco SK140SRLC-5 is around 14,500kg (or 14 tonnes). By doing the math, Tiger Plant has discovered the staggering number of diggers it would take to move the plastic waste of the top contributors.
Starting with Coca-Cola and their startling 2 million tonnes of plastic waste. It would take approximately 214,285 diggers to move the weight of all of the plastic discarded from their company and customers. Following Coca-Cola is Pepsico, who produced 2,300,000 of plastic waste as a company in 2020. It would take 164,285 diggers to remove all of their plastic waste and it would take 121,428 diggers to move all of Nestle’s yearly plastic waste (1,700,000 tonnes).
Companies such as Danone, P&G and Unilever are still top players in the plastic waste game. It would take 58,571 diggers to move all of Danone’s yearly plastic waste (820,000 tonnes), 51,000 diggers to move P&G’s (714,000 tonnes) and 20,500 diggers for Colgate-Palmolive’s plastic waste (287,008 tonnes).
Amazon seems to have a relatively low plastic waste amount when compared to other companies of its calibre, with 210,000 Tonnes of plastic waste that would take 15,000 diggers to remove. At the bottom of our list is Mars, who would need 13,142 to remove its 184,000 tonnes of plastic waste.
Shockingly, the UK is not far behind Coca-Cola, needing 142,857 diggers to remove the waste that we collectively produce as a nation over the year. However, we can see that it is definitely larger companies that are significantly contributing to the overall global plastic waste. This is especially true when you consider that the data collected from Statista only includes companies that are open about their plastic waste.
So, does this mean that our individual efforts are completely meaningless? It can be easy to think so when it would only take one digger to take the waste of 388.8 UK individuals. However, with 67.22 million people living in the UK, if we each take a proactive approach to our plastic waste, we can help reduce our nations impact on the environment together.
- 4.9 million tonnes of plastic placed on the market each year, ¾ turn to waste: https://www.statista.com/topics/4918/plastic-waste-in-the-united-kingdom-uk/ (Oct 14, 2021)
- Amazon stats: https://www.pollutionsolutions-online.com/news/water-wastewater/17/oceana/amazon-generated-more-than-465-million-pounds-of-plastic-packaging-waste-in-2019/53928#:~:text=Amazon%20Generated%20More%20Than%20465%20Million%20Pounds%20of%20Plastic%20Packaging%20Waste%20in%202019,-Request%20information&text=Oceana%20has%20today%20released%20a,plastic%20packaging%20waste%20last%20year.
- Coca Cola stats: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/these-4-companies-produce-6-million-tons-of-plastic-every-year/
- UK is 4th worse polluter of single-use plastic: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/18/twenty-firms-produce-55-of-worlds-plastic-waste-report-reveals
- Worst companies for plastic pollution: https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2020/09/18/the-worlds-worst-companies-for-plastic-waste-pollution-infographic/?sh=5ab4fc616f10