A beach littered, amongst other things, with dozens of waste plastic bottles

Brand Audit Report (2019)

Analysis of branded plastic pollution found on UK beaches

The 50 parent companies whose items were found most frequently are responsible for 92% of the branded items found, whilst 10 parent companies alone account for well over half the total number of items.

This report presents results of analysis of data on items collected and reported by Surfers Against Sewage volunteers during their 2019 Big Spring Beach Clean. The purpose of the analysis is to highlight the brands and companies that are responsible for the greatest shares of items found on UK beaches during the Spring Beach Clean, to ensure that these types of companies are obligated under the existing EPR guidelines.

The data were collected by volunteers between the 6th and the 14th of April 2019. Volunteers were asked to record the names of brands whose items they found on their local beach and the number of items found for each brand using an online form. 229 datasets were submitted, totalling 49,413 items, of which 20,045 were branded and 29,368 were unbranded. The ratio of branded to unbranded items does not necessarily provide a reflection of the true situation as it is not clear whether surveys recorded unbranded items in the same way.

However, the data are sufficient to give a clear picture of the kinds of companies whose items were most commonly found. In this analysis of the data, the submissions made to the online form were cleaned up and the brands were mapped to their respective parent companies. The linking of items to specific brands forms the main part of the analysis, including lists of the 50 brands and parent companies whose items were found most frequently. The unbranded items are discussed separately.

Read the report