The Inertia for Good Editor
plastic water bottle

You’re not still using these, right? Image: Serenity Mitchell

The Inertia

You can’t Google the word “ocean” without the search engine immediately suggesting you hammer out “pollution” to follow it up. The two together have become one of the top headline-making topics in the world in the past few years. From the efforts to physically remove trash from places like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to viral videos of straws being pulled out of a sea turtle’s nostrils and the major corporations that have pledged to systematically stop using those straws, there is a lot more awareness these days. In fact, people are now realizing just how much plastic is entering our oceans and are ready to change things. Every story and piece of data to support it becomes another drop in that proverbial ocean of awareness.

American Airlines, Aramark, Disney, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott International, Royal Caribbean, and Starbucks are some of the most recognizable brands that have publicly pledged to outright ban or greatly limit the distribution of plastic straws, for example. But plastic is obviously just one piece of the pollution puzzle in this case and the website 24/7 Wall Street just published a list of the 20 corporations responsible for contributing the most pollution to our oceans.

“However, these 20 companies represent our best estimate of the largest polluters in the world, based on their relative size in industries that are known to pollute heavily, as well as estimates of these companies’ greenhouse gas emissions by third parties,” they wrote.


Whether the 20 names on its list definitely make up the world’s top polluters or not, 24/7 Wall Street’s financial news and opinion pieces are regularly republished by MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, MarketWatch,, USAToday, and The Huffington Post — a handful of the largest news outlets on the internet today — so the publicity still isn’t great for the outed culprits.

Coca Cola Company, PepsiCo, and Nestlé were among the most recognizable brands on the list — all in a category reserved for plastic products corporations — but the entire list was actually broken up in four groups: energy corporations, plastic products corporations, agrochemical companies, and meat and dairy corporations. To do this, they compiled data from a handful of 2017 and 2018 studies and databases on sources tied to plastic pollution, runoff from agricultural pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, and greenhouse gas emissions.

“The world’s leading beverage bottler, which markets hundreds of brands of carbonated beverages, water, and juices, said last year it uses 3 million tons of plastic packaging annually,” they wrote about Coca Cola, calling them the top producer of plastic trash that makes its way into the oceans.

24/7 Wall Streets full report and list can be found here.


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