Sysco, the world’s largest food distributor, should stop using harmful single-use plastic

Sysco delivers wholesale food to a wide variety of businesses including restaurants, hotels and hospitals — but in the process, its use of plastic packaging is contributing to the plastic pollution crisis that kills 1 million marine animals every year.

Rich Carey |

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Single-use plastics, used for only a few minutes and then tossed, are polluting our oceans, rivers and lands.

A huge portion of that pollution comes from plastic packaging, such as the kind used by Sysco, the world’s largest food distributor.

The company just heard a resounding call from its shareholders to reduce wasteful single-use plastic packaging in its operations. But to ensure Sysco takes bold and concrete action to put wildlife over waste, we need citizen advocates like you to make their voices heard as well.

Sysco can have a major impact on plastic pollution

Sysco delivers wholesale food to a wide variety of businesses including restaurants, hotels and hospitals. But unfortunately, the food distribution giant is also contributing to the mountains of harmful pollution that enter our environment in the form of plastic waste.

Every 45 seconds, a garbage truck’s worth of plastic waste is spewed into our oceans — killing over 1 million marine animals every year. And a huge portion of that pollution is plastic packaging, from beverage bottles to produce wrappers to foam food containers and more. In fact, packaging is our country’s single largest contributor to the plastic pollution crisis.

That’s a huge problem for thousands of species of wildlife, many of them already threatened or endangered. Imagine a sea turtle swimming in the Atlantic or Pacific. The turtle notices what appears to be a jellyfish nearby — dinner! By the time the turtle consumes its meal, it’s too late. The remnants of a plastic bag or shrink wrap are stuck in its digestive system.

Together, we’re working to protect wildlife from plastic pollution today by urging Sysco to stop contributing to the plastic crisis and become part of the solution.

Momentum is building for moving beyond plastic

Plastic fragments have been found in every single species of sea turtle, as well as 44% of all seabird species and 43% of all marine mammal species. To protect turtles, whales and more, we’re calling on companies to reduce plastic packaging.

Currently, Sysco does not report any information about its plastic footprint and has not set any comprehensive goals for reducing its plastic use. But the tide is turning: 92% of Sysco shareholders just voted for the company to substantially reduce its plastic packaging and be more transparent about the materials it uses.

It’s not a done deal, though: Sysco itself still needs to actually make the commitment that its shareholders just called for. Add your name today to help move the world’s largest food distributor beyond plastic.


Steve Blackledge

Senior Director, Conservation America Campaign, Environment America

Steve directs Environment America’s efforts to protect our public lands and waters and the species that depend on them. He led our successful campaign to win full and permanent funding for our nation’s best conservation and recreation program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund. He previously oversaw U.S. PIRG’s public health campaigns. Steve lives in Sacramento, California, with his family, where he enjoys biking and exploring Northern California.