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Let's Talk Rubbish

Earlier this month we launched our Rubbish Campaign, calling on companies to take responsibility for the plastic waste they produce in poorer countries.

Plastic has regularly hit the headlines in the last few years – particularly the devastation it’s causing to our oceans and wildlife. But it’s also hurting people in poverty.

Shockingly, between 400,000 and 1 million people die each year in developing countries because of diseases related to mismanaged waste. That’s one person every 30 seconds.

And it’s preventable. Globally, 50 per cent of the plastic waste produced is packaging material that we only use once. So, our Rubbish Campaign petition is calling on Coca-Cola, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever to stop being rubbish and to commit to tackling their plastic waste in poorer countries. These four companies produce huge amounts of single-use plastic in communities where there is no rubbish collection, meaning that people are forced either to burn or dump the waste – or live surrounded by it.

To mark the launch of our campaign, we decided to take the issue right to their doorstep. So we grabbed our banners, donned our bright yellow tops and headed to the headquarters of Coca-Cola, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever.

These companies have the power to transform this rubbish problem – and the lives of millions of people – if they make four ‘Not Rubbish’ commitments:

  • Report – on the number of units of single-use plastic products they sell by 2020
  • Reduce – commit to halve the number of these products by 2025
  • Recycle – ensure one single-use plastic item is collected for every one they sell by 2022
  • Restore – work with waste pickers to provide employment with dignity

Since we turned up outside their doors, we have had thousands more people join us in taking action, but we need everyone to get involved if we are going to see these companies make a change. We are speaking out because we believe this rubbish campaign can save lives. Will you join us?

Add your voice today at tearfund.org/rubbish

Tearfund