Share article:
Share article:

Biggest polluter of Brussels canal? Coca Cola

Graphic © Canal It Up

The largest share of the pollution recovered from the canal in Brussels originates with Coca-Cola, according to the group that works to remove pollution waste from the city’s waterway.

The group, Canal It Up, takes to the water in kayaks to remove waste from the thoroughfare, has carried out a survey of the origins of that waste, and found that the largest share comes from the US-based soft drinks behemoth.

Of course, no one is suggesting that the Coca-Cola company is throwing used plastic bottles in the canal in Brussels. That responsibility lies with careless, unthinking or scofflaw individuals.

According to a count of the rubbish the kayakers scoop from the waterway, Coca-Cola produced the largest quantity of rubbish, principally plastic drinks bottles and cans. In second place came Colruyt (plastic shopping bags).

Lower down the table are household names like Mars, AB InBev, Lidl, Aldi, Nestle and Unilever. All of the major supermarket brands are represented, whether their waste is plastic bags or shopping trolleys.

The findings in the Brussels canal match very closely with the findings of the international group Break Free From Plastic, whose top ten includes Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Nestlé, Unilever, Mondelez and Mars – all of which are in the Canal It Up top ten.

The group is now calling for a revival of the idea of a deposit system on drinks bottles and cans, which has been raised several times and has always been quashed by the retail federation, whose members would have to administer it.

A deposit would solve 40% of the problem because you give a value to waste,” Pieter Elsen of Canal It Up told Bruzz.

Every company would get its products back for reuse. But for this, a new logistics system must be set up everywhere. In Germany and the Netherlands, they already work with a deposit. An experiment in Belgium is not necessary. Belgians are no different from Germans, set up the system and Belgians will use it.”

But according to Fost Plus, which administers the system of recyclable plastic waste in Brussels, a deposit system would miss a large part of the problem.

Deposit focuses exclusively on beverage packaging, which is a misleadingly visible part of the waste. But litter is much broader than drinks packaging, and deposits cannot offer a solution for those other sources. We therefore advocate for a holistic approach, in which each party accepts its responsibility: the citizen, the industry and the government. Only in this way can we bring about the change in mentality required to help get rid of unnecessary waste.”

Latest news

Belgian Health Minister wants pharmacists to administer vaccines
Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke has said he wants to change Belgium's law to allow pharmacists to administer Covid-19 vaccines against, ...
Ruined photos from flood victims restored for free
Much of what victims of this summer’s deadly flooding lost is irreplaceable, but when it comes to photographs that were ruined, a Brussels company is ...
New Belgian video game aims to help children who stutter
A new video game by Belgian-American start-up Say It Labs aims to teach children with a stutter various techniques to improve their speech.  ...
More than 1 in 4 Belgians use mobile phones whilst driving
A recent European study into the use of mobile phones whilst driving highlights some alarming results: 26% of Belgians read or send messages on their ...
Belgium in Brief: Memories Of Masks
Belgium's experts are concerned with the rising coronavirus figures. One possible solution could be that, once again, masks are used more widely. ...
Museum Night Fever returns to Brussels on Saturday night
After a break last year, Museum Night Fever 2021 is back again with free visits to 32 museums hosting performances, music and other events. The ...
More than €1.5 billion injected into SNCB
More than €1.5 billion in additional funding has been injected into the Belgian railways, Federal Mobility Minister Georges Gilkinet told the House ...
Non-vaccinated applicants no longer welcome at ZNA hospitals in Antwerp
The Antwerp hospital group ZNA is only taking on new employees who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to reporting from VRT. ...
Pharmacies prepare to administer more rapid antigen tests
From November, anyone presenting coronavirus symptoms for less than six days will be able to take a rapid antigen test in a pharmacy, announced the ...
Chocolate, Christmas, and cocaine
Do you consider yourself a news buff? Someone constantly on top of what's going on? Then maybe you have what it takes to ace The Brussels Times ...
Introduction of Covid Safe Ticket leads more in Brussels to get vaccinated
The introduction of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) in the Brussels-Capital Region on 15 October seems to have led to a higher number of residents ...
More and more testimonies, and a second rally against sexual violence in Brussels
A second rally against sexual violence was held in the Brussels neighbourhood of Ixelles on Thursday evening, and a sister-rally was held ...