Group sues to hold Coca-Cola, Pepsi and others liable for plastics fouling California waters

Los Angeles Times –

Escalating a campaign to make corporations responsible for the waste they produce, an environmental group filed suit Wednesday against some of the world’s biggest food, beverage and consumer goods companies in a California court, arguing they should be held responsible for plastic packaging that is fouling the state’s oceans, rivers and streams.

The Earth Island Institute asked for unspecified damages and an order for Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestle USA, Procter & Gamble and six other companies to clean up plastic waste that the group says has created a global pollution crisis.

The suit, filed in San Mateo County Superior Court, is believed to be the first of its kind. It follows a rising public outcry about plastics pollution — particularly in the world’s oceans — and initiatives by state and federal lawmakers to force companies to take ownership of the material they use to package their products.

The California Legislature is reviewing measures that would impose so-called extended producer responsibility, — requiring food and drink producers to devise plans to capture empty containers.

And Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) this month introduced the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act. It would create a nationwide beverage container redemption program, ban some single-use plastic products and force the use of recycled material in the making of plastic bottles and containers.

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