Press Release

Earth Island Adds Unfair Competition Claim in Plastic Pollution Lawsuit

Amended Complaint Against Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and other defendants to hold them accountable for plastic pollution

October 4, 2023 (Berkeley, CA) — Earth Island Institute (Earth Island) has filed an amended complaint in its landmark lawsuit against several major consumer goods companies, including giants like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestlé USA, Inc. (now BlueTriton Brands), alleging their packaging is contributing to the plastic pollution crisis and that the companies are using unfair and deceptive business practices to promote their products and recycling capabilities. Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy is representing Earth Island in this matter.

Earlier this year, Judge V. Raymond Swope of the Superior Court of California of the County of San Mateo ruled on motions challenging Earth Island’s original complaint, and directed Earth Island to amend the complaint to address certain issues.

Monday’s amended complaint includes additional facts and data to support the public nuisance claim against the companies and adds a new claim under California’s unfair competition law, which prohibits any unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business act or practice.

“More than half a billion metric tons of single-use plastic have been produced since we filed our original complaint in February 2020 while plastic waste recycling has dropped further into the single digits,” said Sumona Majumdar, Earth Island Institute’s chief executive officer. “It is imperative that the companies that use all this plastic bear responsibility for this mess. And just like the oil and gas companies being held accountable by the State of California for denying the role of fossil fuels in climate change, we must also hold these corporations accountable for their representations to the public about plastic recycling.”

Earth Island Institute, a leading nonprofit environmental organization based in Berkeley, California, develops programs and supports projects that counteract threats to the planet’s biological and cultural diversity. Earth Island also plays a leading role in efforts to fight plastic pollution and protect our oceans, coasts, and marine life.

Earth Island has filed this case in its own right and on behalf of the following sponsored projects:

  • Plastic Pollution Coalition: Founded in 2009, PPC is a communications and advocacy organization that collaborates with an expansive global alliance of organizations, businesses, and individuals to create a more just, equitable, regenerative world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impacts. The companies in the lawsuit are held accountable by the coalition, which serves as an industry watchdog, driving corporate change on single-use plastic. Together with members, Plastic Pollution Coalition has created and amplified thousands of petitions, collecting millions of signatures asking these companies to change their polluting practices.
  • The International Marine Mammal Project: IMMP is one of the leading groups fighting to protect dolphins, whales, and the ocean environment from plastic pollution. The ingestion of plastic packaging produced by the companies in this lawsuit often impacts the health of marine life. IMMP recently published a comprehensive report on these impacts, and is compiling a record of dolphin and whale deaths due to plastic ingestion.
  • Shark Stewards: This conservation project works on the frontlines of marine cleanup efforts and observes firsthand the ubiquitous presence of plastics in our shoreline and ocean environments. It aims to help restore ocean health by organizing and participating in cleanup programs, by saving sharks from overfishing and the shark fin trade, and by protecting critical marine habitat through the establishment of marine protected areas and shark sanctuaries.
  • 1000 Fountains: Based in San Francisco, 1000 Fountains is building a network of one thousand drinking fountains throughout the city to provide consumers with alternatives to single-use plastic bottles. San Franciscans buy almost 300 million single-use plastic water bottles every year. Providing them with more drinking fountains can help reduce this plastic waste and save consumers more than $500 million a year.

Additional information about this lawsuit can be found here.

Sumona Majumdar, Earth Island Chief Executive Officer,, (510) 859-9120

Tyson Redenbarger, Attorney, Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy, 650-697-6000