GreenYes Digest V98 #241

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Fri, 22 Jan 1999 17:25:00 -0500

GreenYes Digest Sun, 15 Nov 98 Volume 98 : Issue 241

Today's Topics:
Sacramento Bee, Novemeber 14, "Dear Coke: Start recycling"
SVTC 16th Anniversary Party and new Web site

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Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 02:21:37 EST From: Subject: Sacramento Bee, Novemeber 14, "Dear Coke: Start recycling"

Sacramento Bee articles captures GRRN/CAW message on Coke beautifully, although it reflects out of date information on the use of recycled plastic which has improved in terms of technology and cost in recent years as alternative processes have been developed and approved by US FDA.

The article by Nancy Vogel in the Sacramento Bee, Saturday, November 14, is our best single media story this week in mainstream press. I graphic= appeared in the the print article showing a decline in plastic recycling rates since the introduction of the 20 ounce single use bottle.

-- forwarded by Lance King ****************************************************************************= ** ****** Text from follows:

<Picture: *><Picture: LOCAL NEWS: The Sacramento Bee>

Dear Coke: Start recycling Activists' mail drive highlights growth of plastic waste

By Nancy Vogel Bee Staff Writer=20 (Published Nov. 14, 1998)

Hoping a message in a bottle will persuade Coca-Cola to start using recycled plastic in the estimated 20 million beverage containers it sells each day, activists in Sacramento are urging people to mail their Coke bottles back to the Atlanta-based soft drink giant.

The campaign, part of a nationwide effort, highlights how the recycling of plastic bottles isn't keeping pace with their growing popularity --= especially the 20-ounce bottles that on-the-go Americans snap up in convenience stores and don't always carry from the car to the recycling bin.

After soft drink makers introduced those containers in 1995, for example,= the number of plastic bottles sold in California jumped from 760 million to more than 1 billion.

At the same time, the rate of plastic bottle recycling in California dropped from 64 percent to 58 percent, according to the state Department of Conservation. In 1997, that meant that more than 500 million plastic bottles ended up in California landfills -- where they degrade slowly, if at all --= or as litter.

"We've got to close the loop," said Rick Best, policy director for Californians Against Waste, "because the fact is that we're producing more= and more plastic bottles every day."

At the downtown Sacramento post office this week, Best mailed to Atlanta several used plastic Coke bottles, with 55-cent stamps stuck on the outside and a sheet rolled inside urging Coca-Cola Chairman M. Douglas Ivester to= use recycled plastic for the estimated 8 billion plastic soda bottles Coca-Cola sells each year in the United States.

Coca-Cola and rival Pepsi Cola made headlines when they announced plans to= do so in 1990. But they sold bottles made of recycled plastic for less than two years. They stopped because using recycled plastic cost 10 percent to 12 percent more than using virgin plastic, which is generally built up= chemically from some kind of natural gas or hydrocarbon base.

Soft drink industry officials say that when recycled plastic makes economic sense, they'll use it.

But Best said Coca-Cola ought to absorb the higher costs of using recycled plastic for the sake of conserving petroleum and space in landfills.

"Right now the cost of throwing away those containers is a cost forced on= the American public," he said.

Plastic bottles that are recycled get put to use by companies -- all b---- couple of them outside California -- that make carpets, clothing and other products, Best said, so they truly are saved from landfills.

But the beverage industry, he said, isn't taking enough responsibility for= the billions of virgin plastic bottles it generates each year. Nationwide, recycling experts say, plastic is displacing glass and aluminum as drink containers. Miller Brewing Co., for example, began distributing beer in plastic bottles last month, a first for American brewers.

By replacing aluminum and glass with virgin plastic bottles, the beverage industry is switching from a highly recycled material to one recycled at a lower rate, Best said.

Last year, for example, Californians recycled 80 percent of the aluminum= cans and 67 percent of the glass containers sold in the state. Plastic containers were recycled at a rate of 58 percent.

If Coca-Cola were to start making bottles with about 25 percent recycled plastic, Best said, other soft drink companies would likely join suit and create a vast new market that would raise the value of the used bottles.

In certain European countries and Australia, Coca-Cola uses recycled plastic in its bottles because laws demand it, said Edgar Miller, director of policy for the National Recycling Coalition. And in Brazil consumers use hard= plastic containers that are refilled repeatedly with the soft drink.

But E. Gifford Stack, vice president of environmental affairs for the= National Soft Drink Association, said his industry has yet to come up with a cost- competitive recycled plastic bottle. Neither Coca-Cola nor Pepsi promised in 1990 to commit to using recycled plastic, he said.

"The cost associated with collecting the recycled bottles, processing them, cleaning them and putting them into the right form to be used again -- those are added costs," he said.

Virgin plastic is cheaper because of a worldwide upswing in production, said Miller. Reasons for this are many, complicated and tied to the global= economy.

They range from the depressed price of oil, Miller said, to the failure of a cotton crop in China several years ago. The Chinese bought a lot of recycled plastic bottles to spin into fabric as a replacement for cotton; their heavy buying drove up the price of recycled plastic and encouraged bottle makers= to invest in virgin plastic resin production.

"We've seen a major price drop in the virgin resin, which makes it even= harder for recycled resin to compete," said Miller. "Two years ago, a pound of= virgin plastic resin would cost you 75 cents to 80 cents. It's about 40 cents a= pound now."

Californians recycle plastic bottles at a higher rate than the national average of 36 percent, in part because there's a 2.5-cent deposit on the bottles. That means a soft drink costs an extra 2.5 cents but the pennies= are paid back when the plastic bottle is taken to a recycling center. In September, Gov. Pete Wilson vetoed a bill that would have raised the deposit on 20-ounce plastic bottles to a nickel as a way to encourage recycling.

Overall, Californians are slipping in their dedication to bottle recycling, said Jeanne Winnick, spokeswoman for the state Department of Conservation. Between 1995 and 1997, for example, the rate of recycling aluminum= containers dropped four percentage points, glass dropped seven percentage points and plastic dropped six percentage points.

Last winter, the department interviewed residents in Sacramento and Los Angeles to try to explain the decline.

"People admitted to not being as conscientious," she said. "They said= they're being a little more lazy."


Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 12:44:32 -0800 (PST) From: Ted Smith <> Subject: SVTC 16th Anniversary Party and new Web site

>Dear Friends: > >Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition will be celbrating our 16th birthday next >week with a benefit party at De Anza College where we will be unveiling= some >new aspects of our award winning web site (winner of the Yahoo Seal of >Excellence Award). Our interactive web site defines and documents our >toxic legacy and also points the way toweard a more sustainable future. It >features GIS maps that link environmental and census data, and we will also >be demonstrating how we have been able to to mobilize international support >behind some of our campaigns. We will also be presenting community service >awards to several community and enviornmental activists who have helped >improve our community. > >Take a sneak preview at > >We would be delighted and honored if you could join us at this event. It= is >on Thursday, Novmber 19 at 7:00 at De Anza College Campus center. = Admission >price is $50.00 per person and sponsorships range from $1000.00 to $150.00. >We will also have plenty of good food and entertainment. I hope you can >come join us and help us celebrate "sweet sixteen!" Thanks a lot. > >Please share this invitation with others and call us if you would like more >information at 408-287-6707. > >Ted Smith > >Ted Smith >Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition >760 N. First Street >San Jose, CA 95112 >408-287-6707-phone >408-287-6771-fax > > > >Get a sneak preview of our maps showing Toxic Release Inventory data and >communities in Santa County at > >>ALSO AVAILABLE AT OUR WEBSITE -- New environmental justice maps >> > >Food for thought: > >How Gandhi Definded the Seven Deadly Sins >=B7 Wealth without work >=B7 Pleasure without conscience >=B7 Knowledge without character >=B7 Commerce without morality >=B7 Science without humanity >=B7 Worship without sacrifice >=B7 Politics without principle > > > >

Ted Smith Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition 760 N. First Street San Jose, CA 95112 408-287-6707-phone 408-287-6771-fax

>NOW AVAILABLE AT OUR WEBSITE -- New environmental justice maps >

Food for thought:

How Gandhi Definded the Seven Deadly Sins =B7 Wealth without work =B7 Pleasure without conscience =B7 Knowledge without character =B7 Commerce without morality =B7 Science without humanity =B7 Worship without sacrifice =B7 Politics without principle


End of GreenYes Digest V98 #241 ******************************