[GRRN] RELEASE: 8th Anniversary of Coke's Broken Promise

Bill Sheehan (zerowaste@grrn.org)
Sat, 5 Dec 1998 17:06:05 -0500

[The following news release was issued at a
press conference at the National Press Club
in Washington DC on Dec. 3rd, on the eve of the
eighth anniversary of Coke and Pepsi's broken
promises to use recycled plastic in their
soda bottles.]

Contacts: Bill Sheehan (706) 613-7121
Lance King (703) 241-0019


"Coke - Take It Back!" Say Groups Demanding
Company Make New Bottles With Recycled Plastic
As Promised

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 3, 1998) - Coca-
Cola is shifting away from recycled aluminum and
glass to non-recycled plastic, a move which is
depressing recycling rates for plastic soda bottles
according to the GrassRoots Recycling Network.

"Coke's use of non-recycled plastic damages the
environment by wasting billions of bottles that could
be recycled each year and by generating toxic
waste in production of new plastics," Rick Best,
chair of the GrassRoots Recycling Network said
today in a 12:30 news conference at the National
Press Club.

"Some things don't go better with Coke, things like
plastics recycling. Recycling rates for plastic soda
bottles have dropped 3 years in a row from a peak
of 50 percent in 1995 to 36 percent in 1997," Best

The GrassRoots Recycling Network is leading a
national protest campaign called "Coke - Take It
Back!" calling upon Coca-Cola Chairman M.
Douglas Ivester to live up to the 1990 promise to
make new bottles with recycled plastic.

"Consumers are sending Coke a message by
mailing empty bottles back to Coca- Cola," GRRN
Network Coordinator Bill Sheehan said. "All you
have to do is address it to Chairman and CEO M.
Douglas Ivester at One Coca-Cola Plaza, Atlanta,
GA 30313. Just put a mailing label on the bottle
and add a 55 cent stamp on a 20 ounce or 2 liter
bottle. Rinse out the bottle and put the cap back on
before mailing."

The Coke - Take It Back! campaign is growing
rapidly, with support from 81 organizations and
leaders in 26 states. Environmental, consumer,
recycling and student groups launched the
campaign in mid-September and have experienced
a 4 fold increase in endorsements since then.

"Our campaign is about manufacturer
responsibility. Recycling works only if
manufacturers like Coke use the materials
consumers recycle," Larry Bohlen, director of
health and environment for Friends of the Earth in
Washington, DC, said today.

- More - GRRN News Release: Coke - Take It
Back! 12/3/98 Page 2 0f 2

"This is a decentralized, grassroots campaign"
GRRN Campaign Consultant Lance King said.
"More than a dozen protest events were held the
week of November 10 to November 17 in
connection with the second annual America
Recycles Day."

"One local government sparked interest in the mail
back campaign. In San Luis Obispo County,
California, elected officials on the solid waste
authority launched a radio and newspaper ad
campaign almost a year ago calling on consumers
to send back their empty plastic Coke bottles," Rick
Best, policy director for Californians Against Waste
and chair of the GRRN Steering Committee said
today in Sacramento, California.

Coca-Cola sells an estimated 20 million sodas
every day in the United States in plastic bottles. In
a year's time more than 8 billion plastic Coke
bottles made from more than 600 million pounds of
virgin plastic are discarded.

"As quickly as those bottles are tossed away, the
plastics industry extracts more non-renewable
resources and spews more hazardous emissions to
churn out millions of new bottles," Dr. Bill Sheehan,
GRRN Network Coordinator said from the
organization's national headquarters in Athens,

"While certain industries incorporate used plastic
soda bottles into a host of products, 64 percent of
all used soda bottles became waste or litter in 1997
- largely because Coke refuses to 'close the loop'
by taking them back and using them again,"
GRRN's chair Rick Best said.

"Soft drinks packaged in plastic, particularly in the
recently introduced 20 ounce bottles, are adding to
the waste stream 10 times faster than the growth in
recycling of soda bottles. We're targeting Coke as
the industry leader with 44 percent of the market,"
King said.

"Cost-effective technologies approved by the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration are available to
Coke. It would cost about one tenth of one penny to
use 25 percent recycled plastic in a 20 ounce
bottle, according to one industry source," King said.

"The next time you say the words 'Coca-Cola', just
remember that in the one second it takes to say
those words 200 plastic Coke bottles were dumped
in a landfill somewhere in the United states - 200
every second, 700,000 every hour, more than 20
million a day, more than 6 billion last year alone -
all at taxpayers expense," Container Recycling
Institute Executive Director Pat Franklin said.

Coca-Cola uses recycled plastic in Coke bottles
sold in a number of other countries, where
government mandates require it. If Coke refuses to
take the "buy recycled" pledged voluntarily, then
calls for government to adopt legislation will grow
according to GRRN.