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Millions of single-use plastic soft drink bottles sold every year

A survey of five of the six biggest soft drinks firms found just 7% of throwaway plastic bottles are made from recycled materials.

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Plastic bottles and driftwood washed up on Pembrey Sands beach in Wales. Photograph: Paul Quayle/Alamy

More than two million tonnes of throwaway plastic soft drinks bottles are sold each year, with only a small proportion made from recycled materials, research reveals.

A survey by Greenpeace found five of six global soft drinks firms sold single-use plastic bottles weighing more than two million tonnes – only 6.6% of which was recycled plastic.

If figures from Coca-Cola, which did not disclose how many tonnes of plastic it sells, were included, the numbers would be much higher, the campaigners said.

Single-use drinks bottles are a visible part of the problem of plastics pollution in the world’s oceans, forming the most common type of plastic packaging found washed up on shorelines globally, Greenpeace said.

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The west’s throwaway culture has spread waste worldwide

Millions of tonnes of plastics are ending up in the ocean every year, harming marine, taking centuries to break down and spreading toxic chemicals.

Greenpeace wants soft drinks brands to do more to tackle marine plastic pollution, for example by producing more 100% recycled bottles and committing to phasing out the use of throwaway plastic.

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