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[GreenYes] RELEASE: GRRN NYC Demo at Coke Shareholders Meeting
For Immediate Release
April 17, 2002
Contact:  LCG Communications: 718.853.5568
Shareholders, Environmental Activists, 
Students, Others Join For Rally/Press 
Conference at Coke Shareholders Meeting in New 
York City; Tell Coke: Support Expanded Bottle 
Bill in New York State, Pass Shareholder 
Resolution To Take More Responsibility for 
Recycling Products
Members of GrassRoots Recycling Network were 
joined by the New York Public Interest Research 
Group (NYPIRG), the New York City Waste 
Prevention Coalition and the Container 
Recycling Institute at a rally and press 
conference today outside Madison Square Garden 
in New York City, where the Coca-Cola Company 
held its annual shareholders meeting, to urge 
Coke to support an expanded Bottle Bill in New 
York State and to pass a shareholder resolution 
that would make the giant corporation take more 
responsibility for recycling its products.
Standing beside a huge, 25-foot tall inflatable 
Coke bottle inscribed with the message, 
"Support Bigger Bottle Bill," Bill Sheehan, 
GrassRoots Recycling Network's Executive 
Director told the crowd, "We stand here today 
as part of a national effort to expose the 
abysmal job that's being done at the corporate 
level to stop littering the nation with 
empties.  Over 100 billion single serve 
containers are buried, burned or littered each 
year in the United States.  
"Coke knows the solution that works because 
they invented it -- deposits.  The ten states 
with deposits recycle more than the other 40 
states put together, at almost no cost to 
taxpayers.  But Coke fights deposits and bottle 
bill expansions like the one that is about to 
be introduced in New York State.  They fight 
deposits because they don't want to take 
responsibility for their packaging waste - they 
want taxpayers to foot the bill," Sheehan said.
Assemblyman Thomas P. DiNapoli (D-LI), Chair of 
the Assembly Environmental Conservation 
Committee, will soon be introducing an expanded 
Bottle Bill into the New York State Assembly. 
The bill would expand the current law to cover 
non-carbonated beverages, require unclaimed 
Bottle Bill deposits to be returned to the 
state to fund municipal waste reduction and 
recycling projects, and specify which materials 
must, at a minimum, be recycled in New York and 
prohibit these materials from being 
incinerated, landfilled, or mixed with ordinary 
"New York State's Bottle Bill was first passed 
in 1982, when there simply weren't as many 
canned and bottled beverages," explained 
Timothy Logan, Chair of the New York City Waste 
Prevention Coalition.  "The current bill only 
covers carbonated beverages and that, as you 
know, doesn't begin to cover the many different 
beverages in cans and bottles in the market 
right now. Due to the recent economic downturn 
and the toll of the September 11th tragedy upon 
the City and State's economy, we now find our 
environment in greater peril.  Now more that 
ever, we need to decrease the impacts of waste 
export.  While Coke has traditionally opposed 
any expansion of bottle bills, we hope that our 
presence here helps persuade Coke that New York 
State needs a bigger, better Bottle Bill," he 
"It's very timely that this effort has come 
visibly to New York right now," said Laura 
Haight, Senior Environmental Associate at 
NYPIRG.  "Our City is threatened with budget 
cuts, and our Mayor has said publicly that he 
wants to cut back on recycling.  With greater 
cooperation from producers like Coke, recycling 
can become more efficient and actually save 
money for government and for consumers," she 
Inside the Coke shareholders' meeting, a 
shareholders' resolution was debated that would 
require Coke's board of directors to report to 
shareholders by September 1, 2002, on its 
efforts to adopt a comprehensive recycling 
strategy, including the means and feasibility 
of achieving, by January 1, 2005, a recovery 
rate of 80% for its beverage containers bottled 
in North America as well as the company's plans 
to increase recycled content in beverage 
containers. (A complete copy of the resolution 
is available upon request.)
Yesterday, the GrassRoots Recycling Network and 
the Container Recycling Institute helped 
support efforts to pass the shareholders' 
resolution at today's Coke meeting by placing 
an "op-ad" on the opinion page of the New York 
Times.  (Copies of the ad are available upon 
The ad implores, in part: "Coke and Pepsi-STOP 
Trashing America! It's time for Coke and Pepsi 
to take responsibility for their bottle and can 
waste, instead of passing it off on taxpayers.  
Every year, 45 billion aluminum and plastic 
containers are wasted in the U.S.-- the 
equivalent of 320 million barrels of oil over 
the next ten years. Why, when taxpayers are so 
burdened, should we pay for picking up Coke and 
Pepsi's litter? Shareholders: Vote FOR Coca-
Cola proxy Item No. 4 today."
"Coke and Pepsi reap huge benefits from the 
sale of soda in containers that cost more than 
the contents inside," said Pat Franklin, 
Executive Director of the Container Recycling 
Institute. "While producers reap huge profits, 
particularly from the 20-ounce PET bottle, 
local governments and taxpayers get stuck with 
disposal and recycling costs.  Our message to 
Coke and Pepsi is this:  'You can stop the flow 
of litter, trash and wasted resources by 
calling a halt to your war on bottle bills,'" 
she added.
Efforts to support greater producer 
responsibility and the expanded New York State 
Bottle Bill will continue, with other pieces of 
legislation and action planned for the near 
(Updated information on the national push for 
greater producer responsibility in recycling, 
bottle bills, etc. can be found on the 
GrassRoots Recycling Network website:
About the groups: 
GrassRoots Recycling Network ( is 
a North American network of waste reduction 
activists and professionals dedicated to 
achieving sustainable production and 
consumption based on the principle of Zero 
Container Recycling Institute (www.container- is a non-profit organization 
that studies and promotes policies and 
practices that shift the social and 
environmental costs associated with 
manufacturing, recycling, and disposal of 
container and packaging waste from government 
and taxpayers to producers and consumers; 
New York Public Interest Research Group 
( is New York's largest 
statewide nonprofit consumer and environmental 
advocacy group.  NYPIRG was instrumental in 
passage of the 1982 Bottle Bill and has been a 
longtime advocate for recycling and waste 
New York City Waste Prevention Coalition is a 
network of organizations and individuals 
dedicated to promoting waste prevention as the 
most responsible, environmentally sound and 
cost-effective means to solve New York City's 
mounting solid waste problems.  

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