Oceana analyzed packaging market data for the nonalcoholic beverages industry, the market share of PET bottles, and plastic marine pollution data in 76 coastal countries around the world to estimate the total amount of PET plastic bottle marine pollution and the potential of increasing the market share of refillable bottles to reduce marine pollution from PET bottles.
Our analysis found that, based on marine pollution rates from a recent scientific study published in Science and on 2018 beverage and packaging sales information from the market analytics firm GlobalData, between 21 and 34 billion PET bottles, out of 445 billion liters of beverages sold in PET bottles, become marine pollution every year. We also found that increasing the market share of refillable bottles by 10% in all coastal countries in place of single-use throwaway PET bottles could reduce PET bottle marine plastic pollution by 22%. This would keep 4.5 billion to 7.6 billion PET bottles per year out of the ocean. A 20% increase in refillable market share of glass and PET bottles in place of single-use throwaway PET bottles could reduce marine plastic pollution by 39%, keeping 8.1 to 13.5 billion PET bottles out of the ocean every year, based on 2018 data.
The non-alcoholic ready to drink market, worldwide, is driven by a relatively small number of companies. According to Global Data, in 2018, just four companies accounted for over 40% of total sales (in terms of revenue). Beverage companies have the ability to increase the sale of refillable bottles and to decrease marine plastic pollution. Oceana is calling on companies to commit to reducing single-use plastic production and use and to increase the share of refillable bottles.