In Washington DC, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Keurig Dr Pepper announced a joint US initiative organized by the American Beverage Association to reduce plastic waste from bottles. The program, called “Every Bottle Back,” will incorporate expertise from the World Wildlife Fund, the Recycling Partnership and Closed Loop Partners, according to the ABA.
The initiative has four elements:
-- Reduced use of new (virgin) plastic for bottles. Progress will be measured using an accounting methodology provided by the World Wildlife Fund. Data collected will be used to drive further gains.
-- A $100 million fund to invest in the sorting, processing and collection of discarded plastic bottles in key US regions. The goal is to boost the amount of recovered plastic available for recycled bottles. The industry-backed fund, to be administered by the Recycling Partnership and Closed Loop Partners, will attract an additional $300 million in matching grants and investment for the program.
-- A public awareness campaign emphasizing that the industry’s bottles and caps are 100% recyclable. The campaign will encourage the return of bottles for recycling.
-- Beginning late next year, voluntary messaging on bottle labels reminding consumers that the packages are 100% recyclable and can be remade into new bottles. Details of the label messaging are in discussion. The message is likely to be consistent across brands and manufacturers.
“Our industry recognizes the serious need to reduce new plastic in our environment, and we want to do our part to lead with innovative solutions,” ABA President and CEO Katherine Lugar said in a statement. “Our bottles are designed to be remade, and that is why this program is so important.”
While the industry has collaborated in recent years around sugar and calorie reduction, “Every Bottle Back” is the first significant joint initiative by the three US beverage makers to address plastic waste and recycling. Until now, the producers have each managed the issue largely on their own.
Together, the companies want to show consumers that PET bottles, which are among the most recyclable food and beverage packages, are not meant to be used once and discarded. The companies’ investments are intended to help improve the economics and effectiveness of the country’s recycling infrastructure. Without a coordinated effort and clear progress, the beverage industry faces the threat of increased consumer and government backlash against one of its most important packages.
NOTE: ABA’s Lugar will join us for our Future Smarts conference on Dec. 9 in New York to discuss what’s next for the industry in 2020 and beyond.
For more details and to register, click HERE.
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