By Clark Mindock and
Jonathan Stempel, Reuters
NEW YORK, Nov 15 (Reuters) – New York state sued PepsiCo (PEP.O) on Wednesday, accusing the beverage and snack food giant of polluting the environment and endangering public health through its single-use plastic bottles, caps, and wrappers.
The lawsuit filed in state court in upstate Erie County is among the first by a U.S. state to target a major plastics producer.
New York Attorney General Letitia James accused PepsiCo of contributing to a public nuisance by generating a significant share of plastic waste found in and near the upstate Buffalo River, including more than 17% of trash that could be readily traced to specific brands.
She also said the company failed to warn consumers about the potential health and environmental risks of plastics in its more than 100 brands, and misled the public about its efforts to fight plastics pollution.
James said such pollution can enter drinking water after breaking down, contributing to health problems.
“All New Yorkers have a basic right to clean water, yet PepsiCo’s irresponsible packaging and marketing endanger Buffalo’s water supply, environment, and public health,” James said in a statement.
A PepsiCo spokesperson said the Purchase, New York-based company is “serious about plastic reduction and effective recycling” and committed to working with local communities.
PepsiCo has partnered with stakeholders nationwide to improve recycling infrastructure and boost consumer awareness about the importance of recycling, the spokesperson added.
In addition to Pepsi cola, PepsiCo’s brands include Cheetos, Cracker Jack, Doritos, Fritos, Gatorade, Lay’s, Lipton, Mountain Dew, Ocean Spray, Quaker, Ruffles and Tostitos.