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[greenyes] Americans break record for beverage containers wasted

1601 North Kent Street, Suite 803
Arlington, Virginia 2220

News Release Contact: Pat Franklin,
December 30, 2004 cell

Americans break record for beverage containers wasted
129 billion bottles and cans trashed in 2004

Washington, DC ? Americans threw away a record number of bottles and cans
according to newly released numbers from the Container Recycling Institute
(CRI). ?The decline in recycling is due to two factors,? said Pat Franklin,
executive director of CRI, ?lack of opportunities and lack of incentives to

?In just one year we?ve dumped a staggering 129 billion beverage containers
in trash cans instead of recycling bins,? said Franklin, ?60% more than in
1990. Those glass, aluminum and plastic containers (411 for every man,
woman and child in America) could have been used to make new cans or
bottles, fleece jackets, carpets and a myriad of other items.?

?Can and bottle waste is on the rise,? said Franklin, ?and there?s a heavy
environmental price tag on all that waste.? According to CRI, the upstream
environmental impacts include energy consumption equivalent to 36 million
barrels of crude oil per year; the annual generation of 4.5 million tons of
greenhouse gasses; the emission of a host of toxics to air and water; and
damage to wildlife habitat. The downstream impacts include: an estimated
125 billion glass, aluminum and plastic containers going to landfills and
incinerators; an estimated 4 billion beverage bottles and cans littering
beaches, parkland and roadsides, streams, lakes, rivers and oceans causing
injury to humans, domestic animals, wildlife and marine life.

?The problem, ironically, is not a lack of markets for the materials,? said
Franklin, but rather a lack of supply. The containers are not getting from
the consumer to the recycling businesses.? She explained that dozens of
companies rely on post-consumer bottles and cans as feedstocks to make new
containers or other products, but they can?t get the containers. ?Some of
those companies may go out of business if they can?t get an adequate supply
of scrap materials,? she said.

?Consumers, who enjoy a moment of refreshment when they drink their packaged
beverage, are for the most part unaware that they are creating an eternity
of waste,? said Franklin. ?Beverage manufacturers reap huge profits from
the sale of one-way, disposable beverage cans and bottles, but don?t want to
take financial responsibility for the waste they create.?

Franklin says the Container Recycling Institute will be looking for partners
in 2005: consumers, businesses, environmental organizations and public
officials, who will work with the institute to reverse the wasting trend.

# # #

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 CRI?s website at

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