Bill Sheehan's response to the Coke initiative was indeed helpful. His last question:
Is it o.k. to declare a Zero Waste goal and then promote a marginal, self-serving strategy?
applies beyond Coca-Cola to the current situation of Canberra, Australia, the original adopter of the zero-waste goal. There, a government agency calling itself ACT-NoWaste has disrupted and limited recycling businesses while presiding over a massive landfill expansion and roundfiling a 1996 plan to build a zero waste transfer facility on land it bought for the purpose. So far they're still getting away with it, although ZWIA has decided to intervene on behalf of Revolve, one of the affected recycling businesses. Goodonya, ZWIA!
Urban Ore, Inc.
On Sep 18, 2007, at 1:36 PM, Gary Liss wrote:
Thanks for your input on this. They were very helpful! For the record, I only was circulating what was published elsewhere.
I also understand that Coca-Cola did NOT adopt a Zero Waste goal. Instead, they adopted
a goal to recycle or reuse 100 percent of its plastic bottles in the U.S. The way Marc Gunther reported that was his view that this was a major step forward towards Zero Waste. But he was NOT suggesting that Coca-Cola is a Zero Waste company, nor have they adopted that goal.
This is NOT diluting the brand of Zero Waste, just some positive actions and commitments by a major player in the field. We also clearly need to address the refillables issues with them to ensure that these positive actions do not undercut the higher priority of reuse.
At 07:03 AM 9/18/2007, Bill Sheehan wrote:
A couple of clarifications on Marc Gunther's article circulated by Gary Liss that suggest prudence on hawking the Zero Waste brand too cheaply. Coke is to be congratulated on committing to invest in recycling more of its plastic, but calling that Zero Waste may be premature.
Gunther: "Zero waste ... won a powerful new supporter yesterday in the Coca-Cola Co., which set a long-term goal of having every bottle it sells in the U.S. recycled or reused."
An article in Plastics News (August 31, by Mike Verespej) had a more sober article with some interesting specifics.
Plastics News: "In 2006 ... [Coca-Cola] introduced in the Netherlands a light-weight, recyclable bottle containing 25 percent recycled material that will replace the refillable plastic bottles it previously sold in that market."
Is this Zero Waste?
Gunther: "Coke's plastic bottles currently contain about 10% recycled PET."
Plastics News: "Coca-Cola Enterprises, which bottles 19 percent of Coca-Cola nonalcoholic beverages worldwide and is its largest bottler, used recycled PET for 3.8 percent of its needs last year."
Gunther: "The plant will open next year; it will produce about 100 million pounds of food-grade recycled PET for reuse each year.
Plastics News: "In 2006 ... almost 4 billion pounds of PET bottles were not recycled." [U.S., industry wide]
A long ways to go to Zero!
And most importantly:
Plastics News: "Coca-Cola also has invested $2 million" in voluntary recycling programs, which it plans to promote nationally. "Despite the need for more recycled materials, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo Inc. have opposed bottle deposits."
Deposits have proven to be effective. Is it o.k. to declare a Zero Waste goal and then promote a marginal, self-serving strategy?
Product Policy Institute
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