Daily Environment Report: Coke Report

Bill Sheehan (bill_sheehan@mindspring.com)
Fri, 13 Nov 1998 18:05:59 -0500

Coca-Cola Co. Targeted by Groups Pushing for Increased Plastic

Daily Environment Report, November 13, 1998, ppA1-2.

The Grassroots Recycling Network (GRRN) is using the second
annual America Recycles Day, November 15, to target Coca-Cola for
going back on a 1990 pledge to use recycled material in its
plastic soda bottles. According to the group, Coca-Cola promised
to use 25 percent recycled material in the 8 billion bottles it
sells every year. However, the company only tested the recycled
plastic for a year before returning to virgin plastic.

Lance King, GRRN's campaign consultant said that if Coke
began recycling some of its 8 billion bottles, which each year
use 600 million pounds of plastic, the company could have a great
impact on the plastics recycling market.

"Will a company do the right thing for the environment, for
recycling, for jobs, for reducing pollution without the mandates?
So far the answer is no," King said.

Speaking on behalf of Coca-Cola, E. Gifford Stack, vice
president of the National Soft Drink Association (NSDA) said that
Coke and Pepsi's "promise" to use 25 percent recycled material
was a test to measure operational effectiveness, buyer reaction,
and expense. It was not a guarantee to use recycled material on
a continuing basis.

Stack went on to say that environmental groups should
concentrate on those materials that are not recycled as much as
plastic bottles. Stack said that the NSDA is dedicated to
recycling, is a corporate sponsor of America Recycles Day, and
invests about $5 billion a year in recycling products.

Currently, the GRRN and other pro-recycling groups are
working at the state level to enlarge bottle bill legislation to
encourage more recycling. Bottle bill legislation requires that
empty bottles be dropped off for recycling. The consumer then
receives a deposit for each bottle returned. Currently, ten
states have bottle bills. National bottle bills have been
suggested before but have never made it out of Congress.