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RE: [greenyes] Coke, Refillables and Recycling


I don't disagree with you Peter. Coke deserves credit for making the
change that we asked them to (If they in fact did). But sometimes
recycling feels like a bandaid on the problem.

The more I learn about plastics (especially as containers for
food/drink) the less I want to encourage the production and use of them.
And while I understand why plastic is so popular, the truly sustainable
path does not include the production of synthetic, toxic,
non-biodegradable polymers from a non-renewable resource. And while it's
a good thing for Coke to use less virgin material in its bottles, the
recycled plastic isn't any better for our health than the new plastic.
We need to move away from petroleum-based plastics altogether. This is
where the recycling movement ends and the Zero Waste movement
begins...with redesign.

Linda Smith
Community Outreach Manager
Eco-Cycle
303.444.6634

P.S. Donate your car, truck, boat or RV to Eco-Cycle. Get the details
at www.ecocycle.org/cardonation

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Anderson [mailto:anderson@no.address]
Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2004 11:11 AM
To: GreenYes
Subject: [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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