A proposal by non-profit organisation As You Sow for US-based food manufacturer Mondelez International to remove unrecyclable packaging from its products has received 28.4% shareholder support at the company's annual meeting.
As You Sow says that many Mondelez products, such as Oreo cookies, could easily be sold in cardboard packaging but are still packaged in thin, unrecyclable plastic film.
The first of its kind to go to a vote at Mondelez, the proposal asks the company to assess the environmental and operational risks that are associated with continuing to use unrecyclable packaging. It also asks Mondelez to develop a timeline for phasing out the packaging, if possible.
As You Sow senior vice president Conrad MacKerron said that Mondelez shareholders should be concerned that the company is selling packaging designed to be disposed in landfills.
"Using unrecyclable packaging when alternatives are available leads to increased use of virgin materials and wastes enormous amounts of valuable resources that could be reused many times over," he added.
Consumer goods firm Colgate-Palmolive recently agreed to phase out most of its unrecyclable packaging by 2020 following engagement with As You Sow.
Plastic packaging contributes to the growing pollution of world oceans. Once it reaches the ocean it can break down into small indigestible particles that birds and marine mammals mistake for food.
Natural Resources Defense Council senior resource specialist Darby Hoover said: "Plastic packaging is a prime component of marine litter, which global authorities have documented kills and injures marine life, and poses a potential threat to human health."