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Lotte, Coca-Cola, Haitai identified as top plastic polluters

Among 12055 pieces of litter collected, Lotte was responsible for 193 items

Photo: Korea Times

/NOVOSTIVL/ Lotte, Coca-Cola and Haitai have been found to be the most polluting brands in an inspection of plastic trash conducted by a civic environmental organization. The retail giant, Lotte, was responsible for more plastic litter than the next top two polluters combined. This article appeared in Korea Times.

The Korea Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM) said Thursday that it collected plastic waste including bottles, cups, wrappers, and bags in 13 regions across the country with 215 volunteers on May 31. The volunteers individually picked up litter in the region they were living in for two hours on the day, and sorted it into various categories including plastic cups, plastic bottles, aluminum cans, plastic wrapping, glass bottles, disposable masks, cigarette butts, plastic packing material, and straws among other waste products.

Among 12,055 pieces of litter collected, Lotte was responsible for 193 items. The next biggest contributor to the plastic pollution in the inspection was Coca-Cola with 70 pieces, followed by Haitai with 48.

Lotte not only occupies the top spot in the domestic beverage brand market with Lotte Chilsung Beverage, but also produces various products under its Lotte Confectionery and Lotte Samgang brands, which generate a lot of plastic waste.

In the case of plastic and canned containers, Lotte Chilsung Beverage and Coca Cola topped the list, while Lotte Confectionery and Lotte Samgang ranked the first on the list in various small package products.

Haitai ranked fourth in plastic wraps, sixth in plastic containers and ninth in aluminum cans.

The most collected waste item was cigarette butts. Of the total 6,488 butts collected, 5,768 or 89 percent were found in the city area, 511 on seashores, 108 in mountains, and 99 in rural areas. Cigarette butts should be disposed of as regular waste by classification, but are often simply discarded by smokers. Cigarette butts contains microplastics along with various chemicals, which, if not disposed of properly, flow into the sea affecting marine ecosystems, and eventually return to humans via the food chain, the organization said.

"Based on the results of this inspection, we will require the top 20 companies who items make up the plastic trash to take measures to reduce the amount generated from their production stage. In addition, the KFEM will continue to monitor social responsibility for plastic waste from the companies and demand voluntary reductions," KFEM activist Baek Na-yoon said.

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