New York’s attorney general Letitia James has sued PepsiCo for the claim of causing damage to the environment and endangering public health with its single-use plastic packaging.

Food wrappers, beverage bottles, and bottle caps manufactured by PepsiCo are some of the most abundantly available forms of plastic waste amassed on the shores of Buffalo River, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) found.

The OAG noted that this increasing plastic pollution is harming wildlife and contaminating Buffalo’s drinking water supply. 

According to a survey conducted by the OAG in 2022, out of 1,916 pieces of plastic waste collected from 13 sites along Buffalo River with an identifiable brand, more than 17% were manufactured by PepsiCo.

PepsiCo’s packaging waste was also listed as three times more abundant than the next highest contributor. 

The lawsuit, filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Erie County, has accused PepsiCo of misleading its consumers regarding its various initiatives to reduce plastic pollution.

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James said: “No company is too big to ensure that their products do not damage our environment and public health.

“No one should have to worry about plastics in their drinking water, plastic garbage littering their scenic riverfront, or plastic pollution harming wildlife. I will never hesitate to take on major corporations that put the health and safety of everyday New Yorkers and our planet at risk.”

The attorney general is requesting PepsiCo and its subsidiaries Frito-Lay and Frito-Lay North America to put an end to their respective accused practices of harming the environment and public well-being. 

PepsiCo is required to offer a solution for contamination it has caused so far while identifying and implementing measures to minimise the quantity of its plastic packaging entering Buffalo River’s water supply.

The lawsuit further seeks disgorgement, civil penalties, and restitution. 

In another report, Reuters cited a PepsiCo spokesperson as saying that the company is “serious about plastic reduction and effective recycling” and has been working with communities and stakeholders in the US to boost consumer awareness about recycling.

PepsiCo, under its sustainability targets, has pledged to minimise its virgin plastic use by 50% by 2030, with the base year 2020.