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[greenyes] Coke, Refillables and Recycling


With reference to the Greenpeace posting:
GREENPEACE ACTIVISTS REPRESENTING CHARACTERS COMING BACK FROM THE FUTURE
TO
FIGHT WASTE.

GREENPEACE RETURN PLASTIC BOTTLES TO COCA COLACONTAINING THOUSANDS OF
MESSAGES FROM CONSUMERS

IN AN APPEAL TO SCIENCE FICTION, A 16 PEOPLE GROUP CAME FROM THE FUTURE TO
FIGHT THE GROWING PROBLEM OF WASTE. THE FIRST TARGET OF THE GROUP WAS COCA
COLA BECAUSE THEIR GROWING PRODUCTION OF DISPOSABLE
BOTTLES.

Certainly, for those looking to build sustainable structures in the future,
it is unfortunate that the day of refillable bottles has passed in so much
of the world. Also, leadership is sorely needed on bottle bills in a time
when single serve containers are eroding recovery rates, and certainly the
market leader is always a perennial target.

On the other hand, as recyclers, we need to recognize Coke for the major
initiative it took in 2000 to voluntarily commit to use 10% recycled content
in its plastic bottles, which culminated in years of behind the scenes work
to help commercialize recycled PET technologies.

For years PET recycling had been struggling financially in significant part
because the cost premium for producing food grade bottle resin from recycled
instead of virgin plastic made it impossible to gain a beach head in those
higher paying bottle markets. Recyclers had been largely relegated to the
committed, but low value, fiber markets, with their dependency on the
gut-wrenching and extremely volatile markets in China.

The sheer volumes controlled by Coke was the catalyst that moved the
equipment market to develop the technology to use curbside collected PET
bottles to be recycled back into those high paying bottle markets, and also
to eliminate the costly re-pelletization process (about 8-10 cents per
pound). Absent those changes that made recycled PET competitive in the
bottle-to-bottle market, this major part of the reason for strengthening
prices received by recyclers would not have happened, and it only did happen
because of Coke's commitment here.

So, certainly there is a need to continue to push for more sustainable
practices in other areas as well, but, at the same time, I feel that we will
ill-serve our own interests if we fail to acknowledge the positive things
that companies have done, especially when it is not just PR but major
substantive progress.

I recognize that this may be controversial, and tie me down defending these
views in the coming weeks, but I feel quite strongly that it needs to be
said. Otherwise, if we fail to give credit where it is due, we will remove
any incentive for other industries to cooperate with our policy nostrums.


Peter
_________________________
Peter Anderson, President
RECYCLEWORLDS CONSULTING
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705-4964
Ph: (608) 231-1100
Fax: (608) 233-0011
Cell: (608) 698-1314
eMail: anderson@no.address
web: www.recycleworlds.net

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