Brand Audits

Uganda Brand Audit 2021

"A People's Effort to hold Corporate Polluters Accountable"

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Plastic Pollution in Uganda. 

Plastic waste has gained a very dangerous reach in Uganda's environment. Today plastic waste can be found in our villages, towns, cities, wetlands, lakes, and flowing in our rivers. The plastic problem in Uganda is now beyond individual actions. It is time we question how much plastic is being produced and for what purposes, there is too much plastic to avoid even though we could. The plastic problem needs to be addressed beginning from the source. 

The plastics industry has failed to change the system. It is maintaining the destructive linear style of Produce - Use - Dispose without responsibility. Today Uganda is losing River Mpanga and River Rizi to plastic waste. From the shores, one can see how plastic waste is entering the "Nalubaale" Lake Victoria. 
Plastic waste has taken over Kiyindi Landing Site in Buikwe District, Photo May 2021
Kiyindi is commonly known for its Silver Fish and home to a variety of Bird species. 

River Rwizi in Mbarara flowing with plastics, Photo May 2021.
From the hills of Buhweju, the river goes through many districts, including Mbarara City and Lake Mburo National Park. 

Plastic is now posing serious health risks for many Ugandans. In Lake, Victoria plastic is killing fish in many ways like choking or ingestion. What survives after ingesting microplastics some of it finds its way to our food plates.

Who are the polluters?

2021 Brand Audit Results overview.

This year's Brand Audit offers an insight into the brands that generate plastic waste polluting our environment. Here are the top 10 out of the 32 companies exposed. 

1. The Coca-Cola Company.
2. PepsiCo
3. Harris International 
5. Yaket International
6. Campbell Food Beverages. 
7. Upfield
8. Hema
9. Nutricon Food and Beverages.
10. Unilever

This year's End Plastic Pollution in partnership with Break Free From Plastic conducted this brand audit on September 6th, 2021 at the Masese Landing Site on the shores of Lake Victoria in Jinja City.
469 items were sorted from the cleaned-up waste by 24 volunteers. 
A total of 47 brands were identified belonging to 32 parent companies. 
By product types, Food packaging more sodas and water were 418 items making up 49.0% of the entire waste collected. Personal care products were 50 items making 11.0% of the total collection. 
By Material type (PET, HDPE, O, LDPE, PP, PVC), PET items like plastic bottles were 228 items making 49.0% and HDPE items were 129 making up 102 items making 22.0% of the total sampled items. 

Multinationals are the biggest polluters. Some are producing here like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo others like Cambell Food Beverages and Upfield are importing products here hiding behind global distributors like Unilever.

Local/National and Regional manufacturers are also big polluters with their "cheap products".
New bottlers Yaket International, Kiri Bottling, and Hema Beverages introduced the 500/= Shillings plastic bottled water. The product has now penetrated even the remotest places of the country. These join a group of other local manufacturers like BIDCO and Mukwano, the two are almost consumed in every average Ugandan home. 

Many brands were not fully detailed, polluters are not labeling anything on their packaging materials. This made it difficult to identify which material it is made from. 

Another dangerous group of polluters is these manufacturers using Single-Use multiple-layer or Single-layer sachets. These are led by BIDCO, Pearl Diary (Lato), Unilever, Wrigleys, and Nestle.

Every community in Uganda has their own version of the plastic story but the one of Masese is intresting.  At first during the Brand Audit we where told not to cleanup because the area has been upgraded to city status which is responsible to cleanup and collect the waste. Before this arrangement residents were allowed to cleanup the shoreline. However our team insisted and we help a clean up. The fishermen here are not happy with the amount of plastic waste at Masese. They say most of it is not from there lake shore town, we were told that most of the plast waste here is brough by washed ashore by the waves on the lake. "This plastic is not from here, we wakeup when the lake brough it here from places we don't know", a resident (name withheld)shared with us.

Brand Audit 2021 at Masese Landing Site, Lake Victoria Uganda. 

Brand Audit 2021 at Masese Landing Site, Lake Victoria Uganda. 

Brand Audit 2021 at Masese Landing Site, Lake Victoria Uganda. 

Our Demands.

Systems Change over Individual Behavior.
RECYLING alone is not a solution. 

This year after the successful Flip Flopi Expedition, Uganda signed and joined the Clean Seas as an effort to put it on a pathway to end plastic pollution. 

Uganda has welcomed positively the processes to a global plastics treaty, unlike South Africa.

At the end of March of this year government also passed a warning to plastic manufactures to find alternative ways to manage the waste they generate. This happened at the sidelines of launching the national Nature Recovery Plan which will use the NEMA 2019 Act as one of its implementation instruments.

Earlier this month New Environmental protection measures were pronounced and the issue of industrialists taking greater responsibility was addressed. The government is looking into the emitting, and disposal of waste. It also clearly took a stand on single-use plastic items like the plastic bag commonly used for packaging purposes. 

Despite these pronouncements being made without the legal instruments to implement them. If well put into action can help do something. It is on these processes that we want to add our demands. These manufacturers are to innovatively bring impactful solutions to the plastic problem. Therefore these demands should be clear to polluting companies and the government. 


Corporate polluters must reveal their plastic footprint. 


Corporate polluters must reduce the amount of plastic they use. How much plastic is being produced and for what purpose, much of what is produced is unnecessary.


Corporate polluters must redesign their packaging and delivery systems to eliminate plastic as much as possible. 

All companies audited will receive a full compiled of the Brand Audit Results. These will also be content to our Annual Uganda Plastic Polluter Report

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