CAG’s PLASTIC BRAND AUDIT 2022
For immediate release
January 23, 2023
The spotlight at the international stage was finally on plastics with the United Nations Environment Assembly endorsing a resolution to develop a legally-binding international instrument on plastic pollution - a Global Plastics Treaty. While finalising, ratifying and actually implementing such a treaty will take time, it is a sign of the importance accorded to plastic pollution and its impact on the planet and humans. For years now, non-profit organisations, academics and concerned citizens from around the world have been a part of the action against plastic production, seeking an end to plastic and the toxic trap it weaves around us.
Brand Audits are one such effort to highlight the role of manufacturers in plastic waste production and to demand they be held accountable. The Brand Audit, a citizen-science initiative, is a global effort anchored by the Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) movement. CAG has been a part of the Audit since its inception five years ago. The CAG Brand Audit 2022 was conducted on the N4 beach in North Chennai, where volunteers gathered plastic waste which was then logged with their brand names; their parent companies were then cross checked and identified.
CAG’s 2022 Audit revealed the Top Polluters to be Unbranded, followed by Britannia, and in third place, Aavin tied with ITC. Unbranded plastics, for the second year running, topped the charts. More than three-fourths of the plastic waste audited was marked 7 - Other indicating that the plastic packaging was made of more than one type of plastic or was a combination of several layers of materials (plastic, cardboard, paper, etc). Such multi layered plastic (MLP) cannot be recycled and has low value in the plastic recycling industry. MLP constituted 60% of the plastic waste audited.
Currently, the onus to break the plastic menace is on consumers to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. This is a limited outcome solution, as plastic pervades every nook and corner of human life. It is also unfair to place this entire burden on the consumer’s shoulders. Recycling also works only some of the time and requires virgin plastic, while waste to energy (burning plastic waste to create low-calorific energy) comes with its own environmental and health hazards. The only true solution is to turn off the tap of plastic production and promote sustainable alternatives. The manufacturers who choose to pack their products in plastic must be held liable for the waste produced at every stage of the product’s life cycle. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), if effectively implemented, is a great way to deter this unmindful production of plastic products and packaging. The findings of the Brand Audit should serve as a clarion call for manufacturers to invest in sustainable alternatives.
The report was formally released at an event conducted jointly by CAG and Justice Basheer Ahmed Sayeed College for Women, on Monday, the 23rd of January. Mr. N. Mahesan, Chief Engineer (SWM) & Town Planning, GCC, Dr. B. Asha Latha MBBS., DPH Zonal Health Officer, Zone 9, GCC and Mr. P. Natarajan, Founder & CEO, PUVI Earth Care Solutions were chief guests at the event. The event also included the young people of the college through various activities, motivating them to embrace the zero waste lifestyle.
The full brand audit report is available here.
For further information, contact: Sumana– 9445395089 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Citizen consumer & civic Action Group (CAG) is a thirty seven year old non profit and non political organisation working on citizen rights and good governance. It has worked primarily to protect the interests of consumers and citizens of Chennai even as its efforts have had state level and even national level impacts