New York Sues PepsiCo Due To Pollution Along Buffalo River

FILE – Pepsi soft drinks in plastic bottles are on sale at a grocery store, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023, in New York. New York state sued PepsiCo on Wednesday, Nov. 15, in an effort to hold the soda-and-snack food giant partly responsible for litter that winds up in bodies of water that supply the city of Buffalo with drinking water. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey, File)

OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
2:25 PM – Thursday, November 16, 2023

New York’s Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit against PepsiCo in an effort to hold the soda-and-snack company accountable for pollution of its products that windup in rivers.


On Wednesday, James accused PepsiCo of producing a large amount of litter and pollution to the environment, as well as endangering the well-being of the public after its single-use plastics were found along the Buffalo River.

The lawsuit, which was filed in state Supreme Court, is attempting to mandate PepsiCo and its subsidiaries, Frito-Lay Inc. and Frito-Lay North America Inc., to “clean up its mess.” 

Single-use plastic packaging, involving food wrappers and plastic bottles, have been located along the shores of the Buffalo River and nearby areas, polluting and contaminating drinking water supply for the city of Buffalo.

The lawsuit asserted that by the company producing so much plastic, the environment has been extremely damaged.

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

The lawsuit additionally claimed that PepsiCo is one of the biggest contributors to the plastic waste contamination problem occurring at the Buffalo River. According to a 2022 survey administered by the state Office of the Attorney General, out of the 1,916 pieces of plastic waste that contained a well-known brand, 17.1% were manufactured by PepsiCo.

Jill Jedlicka, the executive director of Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, made a statement regarding Buffalo River’s contamination issue.

“Our Buffalo community fought for over 50 years to secure hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up toxic pollution, improve habitat, and restore communities around the Buffalo River,” said Jedlicka. “We will not sit idly by as our waterways become polluted again, this time from ever-growing single-use plastic pollution.”

New York’s attorney general also requested in the lawsuit that PepsiCo stop all product sales and distribution in the Buffalo area without informing customers of the possible health and environmental hazards associated with the product’s packaging. 

Additionally, the lawsuit aims to prevent the company from adding to the plastic pollution that is bothering the people in the Buffalo region and to create a plan to lessen the amount of single-use plastics it releases into the Buffalo River.

PepsiCo, whose headquarters are located in New York, manufactures and packages around 85 different drink brands, including Gatorade and Pepsi, and approximately 25 snack food brands that are mainly produced in single-use plastic containers.

Over recent years, PepsiCo has consistently promised that it would make a great effort to help reduce the use of plastics. However, the lawsuit reports that the opposite is occurring, and that the company lied to the public about its efforts to fight plastic pollution.

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