Environmental groups have slammed Coca-Cola's plan to reduce millions of plastic bottles that ended up in the oceans every day as unambitious ''PR spin''.
The world's biggest drinks brand, estimated to produce over 100 billion plastic bottles every year, upped its 2020 target for the amount of recycled plastic used in its bottles from 40 per cent to 50 per cent.
It added that it was considering testing an ''on-the-go bottle recovery and reward programme'', although a spokeswoman said there were no details of how this might work or how big the trial would be.
According to figures obtained by The Guardian newspaper this month, across the globe, one million plastic bottles were bought by consumers every minute – roughly 20,000 a second.
The number was expected to jump another 20 per cent by 2021 as annual sales rise to over half a trillion a year, creating an environmental crisis some campaigners predicted would be as serious as climate change.
The Coca Cola proposal also drew criticism for being too vague. Critics pointed out that smaller drinks companies already had more ambitious targets.
Louise Edge, senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said, ''They're doing nothing to genuinely challenge the culture of throwaway single-use plastic bottles, and what little action they're taking is restricted to Britain, when oceans plastic is a global issue,'' The Guardian newspaper reported.
The soft drinks giant would also trial a "recovery and reward" scheme in the UK, which it said would become a part of national projects that encouraged recycling.
According to commentators, such schemes were usually based on consumers paying a small amount extra for their bottled drink, which was refunded if they returned the packaging.