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Environmental Groups Sue Danone Over Plastic Waste


In accordance with the Duty of Vigilance law pertaining in France, three NGO’s have sued Danone over the use of plastic for packaging and generation of waste. The initiative is led by ClientEarth.  The representative of the organization noted the momentum around plastic litigation has been building fast, and it’s only the beginning.”  Attorney Rosa Pritchard continued, “Companies across the plastic value chain, from fossil fuels companies to consumer goods giants and waste management companies, should be on high alert.”  Pritchard accused Danone of “trudging ahead without a serious plan to deal with plastics.”


In defense, Danone noted “We are implementing a comprehensive framework of action aimed at reducing the use of plastic, developing reuse, strengthening collection and recycling schemes and developing alternative materials.”  Yousef Chtourou, Global Circular Economy Director for Danone noted, “ Putting a name to plastic pollution can not come from a single company and requires the mobilization of all players, public and industrial while respecting the imperatives of food safety.”  He added, “Our net-zero target is aligned with improving our packaging circularity.”


Major companies including PepsiCo, Coca-Cola company and Mars have made extensive progress in recycling, and their efforts should be encouraged not deprecated. It appears that NGO’s including ClientEarth and Zero Waste-France appear to select as their opponents large companies with extensive brand recognition. In most cases these companies are leaders among competitors to marshal efforts and expend capital and resources on reducing plastic waste. Lawsuits and protests against large manufacturers may generate revenue for activists organizations but ultimately will do little to alleviate the accumulation of plastic in the environment.


Reducing the quantum of plastic to the environment is a function of collaboration extending from consumer through local collection systems, recycling depots and plant capable of degrading and re-manufacturing plastic feedstock for new products.


Nearer to home U.S and European equipment suppliers will demonstrate advances in recycling and sustainability at the 2023 IPPE. TekniPlex will demonstrate PET egg cartons manufactured with a high content of post-consumer material. Gi-Ovo incorporates recycled plastic in their Eggscargo™ pallets and trays.


It is evident that action by environmental groups will intensify, resulting in negative publicity and legal costs. It would be preferable for producers to preemptively adapt packaging and embark on positive campaigns to promote achievements in sustainability, recycling and conservation than await the inevitable social media and legal conflicts.