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[greenyes] PET bottle waste has tripled since 1995: CRI Press Release
Container Recycling Institute
News Release     
September 15, 2003 
Contact: Jenny Gitlitz (413) 684-4746 or Pat Franklin (703) 276-9800

Report shows plastic bottle waste tripled since 1995;
Group calls on Coke and Pepsi to stop attacking bottle bills

(Please contact us if you would like to receive the accompanying graphs or
the press release as an attached Word file.)

Washington, DC (September 15, 2003) ? The Container Recycling Institute, a
non-profit environmental group that studies container sales and recycling
trends, has called on Coke, Pepsi and other beverage makers to halt attacks
on laws that could reverse a trend of increasing plastic bottle waste.

³Coke, Pepsi and all those who are profiting from the sale of beverages in
plastic bottles, must accept responsibility for the mounting quantities of
bottle waste,² said Pat Franklin, the Container Recycling Institute¹s
executive director.  ³They could start by halting their thirty-year war
against bottle bills.²

Deposit laws, or ³bottle bills,² place deposits ranging from 2.5 to 10 cents
on beverage cans and bottles.  Deposit systems have achieved recycling rates
over 70% in 10 U.S. states.

CRI¹s announcement comes on the heels of a new industry report showing a
decline in the PET plastic bottle recycling rate in the United States from
22.1% in 2001 to 19.9% in 2002.  This recycling rate is exactly half that
the rate achieved in 1995 (39.7%), and represents the seventh consecutive
year of decline.  In absolute terms, PET bottle recycling declined from 834
million pounds in 2001 to 797 million pounds in 2002.

The report, released this month by the National Association of PET Container
Resources (NAPCOR), also announced a 6% increase in resin sales, due
primarily to the continued growth in single-serving, non-carbonated
beverages.  NAPCOR is the trade association representing resin producers,
PET recyclers, beverage brand owners including Coke and Pepsi, and companies
that manufacture or purchase PET bottles, including Proctor and Gamble.

According to CRI, what NAPCOR does not stress in its report is that plastic
bottle waste is increasing at an alarming rate.

³Wasting is the flip side of recycling,² said CRI research director Jenny
Gitlitz.  ³While PET sales are going through the roof and recycling volumes
stagnate, the quantity of plastic bottles being littered, landfilled, or
incinerated is climbing.²  Gitlitz said the 3.2 billion pounds of PET
bottles wasted in 2002 was almost three times the amount wasted in 1995.

 ³Another way of looking at it,² said Franklin, ³is that for every ton of
plastic bottles recycled, another four tons are being wasted.²

According to Franklin, the PET beverage bottle has been very profitable for
Coke and Pepsi, who own the bottled water brands Dasani and Aquafina,
respectively.   Non-carbonated bottled water is the fastest growing segment
of the U.S. beverage market.

CRI and NAPCOR agree that an ³immediate consumption² trend is partly to
blame for declining recycling rates.  Bottled water and other beverages are
increasingly consumed away from home, and away from the convenience of
residential curbside recycling bins.

The groups disagree on how to address the problem.  ³The two beverage giants
have given lip service to recycling, said CRI¹s Pat Franklin.  ³Their Pete¹s
Big Bins and recycling programs at stadium events are token measures, and
their support of taxpayer-funded curbside recycling programs is a way to
pass the buck to cities and towns.  These companies have failed to take
sufficient steps to ensure that PET recycling keeps pace with skyrocketing
sales.  On the contrary, from Hawaii to New York, they are lobbying against
bottle bill legislation, despite its proven success at recovering beverage
containers.²

Franklin concedes that Coke has committed to a goal of using 10% recycled
content in its plastic bottles by the end of this year.  ³It¹s a baby step,
said Franklin, ³but it¹s a step in the right direction.  Unfortunately,² she
said, ³this positive move is overshadowed by their efforts to repeal
existing deposit laws and prevent new ones.²

According to CRI, states that have a refundable deposit on beverage
containers recycle plastic bottles at 2 to 4 times the rate of non-deposit
states.   ³The beverage and grocery industries do a disservice to their
customers and shareholders by denying the proven success of bottle bills and
allocating company profits to defeat or repeal container deposit
legislation,² Franklin concluded.

Gitlitz cited the environmental damages that result from this plastic bottle
waste. ³Had the 3.2 billion pounds of  PET bottles wasted in 1995 been
recycled,² she said, ³an estimated 6.2 million barrels of crude oil
equivalent could have been saved, and over a million tons of greenhouse gas
emissions could have been avoided.²
 
³The impacts of PET wasting will only grow unless new collection systems or
additional container deposit systems are adopted,² Gitlitz said.

The Container Recycling Institute, founded in 1991, is a nonprofit, research
and public education organization, advocating reduction of container and
packaging waste.  Additional information on container recycling and deposit
systems can be found on CRI¹s websites at www.Container-Recycling.org and
www.bottlebill.org 

                                        #   #   #

Contacts:
Pat Franklin, Executive Director
Container Recycling Institute (CRI)
1911 N. Ft. Myer Dr. #702
Arlington, VA 22209-1603
Tel. (703) 276-9800
Fax: (703) 276-9587
www.container-recycling.org
www.bottlebill.org

Jenny Gitlitz, Research Director
CRI Massachusetts office:
2 Pomeroy Ave.
Dalton, MA 01226
Tel. (413) 684-4746
Mobile: (413) 822-0115
Fax: (413) 403-0233
Email: jgitlitz@no.address




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