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[GreenYes] RELEASE: Campaign to Pepsi: "Close the loop NOW!"
February 27, 2002  
Groups celebrate success in getting Coke to use 
recycled plastic in beverage containers and 
launch new effort to have Pepsi match Coke's 
(ATHENS, GA)  Today students and consumers 
joined activists participating in over 30 events 
around the United States that celebrate 
environmentalists' success in getting Coca-Cola 
to use recycled plastic in their beverage 
containers and to hold PepsiCo to the same 
standard.  Coke is currently using 10 percent 
recycled plastic in three-quarters of its North 
American bottles.  Last week, Pepsi responded 
to consumer and shareholder pressure by sending 
letters to some of its bottlers and 
shareholders stating that it is aiming to use 
10 percent recycled content by 2005.  
"This is a good first step," said Bill Sheehan, 
executive director of Athens-GA based 
GrassRoots Recycling Network.  "We are pleased 
to see Pepsi finally start to acknowledge their 
responsibility for packaging waste.  But 3 to 
4 years to achieve what Coke is already doing is 
totally inadequate."
GrassRoots Recycling Network and 
kicked off the "Take It Back" campaign to 
convince consumers to send their empty plastic 
bottles back to Pepsi, asking the company to 
'close the loop' by using the plastic to make 
new bottles, rather than allowing the empties 
to be littered, burned, or landfilled. 
"We are pleased with the progress we have seen 
from Coke on this issue and commend the company 
for its efforts.  Pepsi, however, needs to 
share responsibility with Coke for addressing 
this ongoing environmental problem," said 
Rebecca O'Malley, program advocate for  
Consumers will send thousands of empty plastic 
bottles back to Pepsi over the course of the 
next few days. Both groups are asking Pepsi to 
match Coke's progress and begin using 
10 percent recycled plastic immediately, and they 
are urging both beverage giants to set a goal 
of using 25 percent recycled plastic by 2005.
Both Coca-Cola and Pepsi promised to use 
25 percent recycled plastic in their beverage 
containers in 1990.  Coke made a significant 
investment at the time, but ultimately both 
companies broke the promise when consumer 
pressure faded.  PepsiCo recently acquired the 
Gatorade brand, which has been using 25 percent 
recycled plastic for nine years.
 "This is the same company that promised 
25 percent recycled content back in 1990 and then 
proceeded to blow off that commitment," Sheehan 
said.  "We'll believe that the company is 
serious when we see a public announcement, 
a plan, and results.  Furthermore, given how 
quickly Coke has been able to move three 
quarters of their North American bottles to 
10 percent recycled content, we don't understand 
why it should take Pepsi until 2005 to reach 
the same result."    
More than 1.6 million Pepsi soda bottles and 
cans are thrown away every hour in the United 
States.  In one day, more than 40 million Pepsi 
soft drink containers become litter or get sent 
to landfills and incinerators.  In 1999, 
114 billion soda and beer containers were burned, 
buried and littered, rather than recycled.  
Manufacturing these containers solely from 
virgin material requires more energy, emits 
more greenhouse gases and creates more needless 
waste than producing the same items using some 
recycled content.  
By contrast, recycling these beverage 
containers can yield substantial environmental 
benefits. Given the vast size of the beverage 
industry, and the rapidly growing role of the 
plastic bottle within it, these benefits are 
significant.  The rate of growth in plastic 
beverage container production is quickly 
outstripping even that of the aluminum can.
CONTACT: Bill Sheehan (GRRN) 706-613-7121
Rebecca O'Malley ( 213.251.3690 x302

Information on the Grassroots Recycling 
Network's Beverage Container Campaign is at 
Information about is at 

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