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Baltimore Sues PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and Others for Plastic Pollution

June 24, 2024
The suit apparently focuses on single-use plastics; it mirrors a November 2023 lawsuit by New York state.

The City of Baltimore last week filed a landmark lawsuit against PepsiCo and its Frito-Lay division, Coca Cola Co. and several plastic manufacturing companies for their “significant roles in creating a plastic pollution crisis” in the city.

The city not only alleges the companies have a role in the litter problem, in both waterways and on land, but, “These plastics contain chemicals that are leached into the water and soil, and recent studies have found microplastics – the small pieces of debris left behind when plastic is broken down – in human organs,” the city said in a news release.

A similar lawsuit, apparently the first of its kind, was filed back in November by New York’s attorney general, holding PepsiCo responsible for the largest share of the litter that winds up in the Buffalo River, which supplies the city of Buffalo with drinking water.

Baltimore’s suit apparently focuses on single-use plastics and alleges these companies created a public nuisance by creating products that they know will cause significant environmental harm. What the city is seeking in penalties was not specified in the news release, but other media said Baltimore wants these companies to foot the bill for cleaning up these products.

The Baltimore Sun reported the plastic manufacturers named in the suit include W.R. Grace & Co., Mercury Plastics MD, Adell Plastics Inc. and Polymershapes Baltimore.

Apparently speaking of past lawsuits, Ebony Thompson, Baltimore city solicitor, said, “We have brought suit against those responsible for PCB and PFAS chemical contamination and cigarette filter pollution, among others. So far, we have brought in over $8 million from our environmental claims, and intend to bring in more to address the damage caused by companies that put profits before people."

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.

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