[GRRN] RELEASE: NY Times Ad Targets Coke's Broken Promise

Gary Liss (gary@garyliss.com)
Mon, 02 Aug 1999 11:15:23

>Date: Mon, 2 Aug 1999 10:55:43 -0400 (EDT)
>From: "Bill Sheehan" <zerowaste@grrn.org>
>To: "Gary Liss" <gary@garyliss.com>
>Subject: RELEASE: NY Times Ad Targets Coke's Broken Promise
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>Gary Liss & Associates
>ATTN: Gary Liss --
>August 2, 1999
>Contact: Lance King (703) 582-7932
>ATLANTA, GA - Coca-Cola's Chairman and CEO M.
>Douglas Ivester is responsible for wasting
>billions of plastic Coke bottles every year, a
>nonprofit group charges in the first of a
>series of paid advertisements appearing today
>on the Op Ed Page of the New York Times.
>"Coca-Cola is the beverage industry leader,
>but their CEO Mr. Ivester is leading in the
>wrong direction. Switching from recycled
>glass bottles and aluminum cans, Coke's move
>to plastics is creating a growing problem for
>the environment, recycling and taxpayers,"
>GrassRoots Recycling Network President Rick
>Best said from his office in Sacramento,
>The advertising campaign, combined with
>Citizen Alerts sent to over 300,000 Working
>Assets long distance customers in their July
>phone bills, is a major expansion of the
>GrassRoots Recycling Network project targeting
>Coke's plastic bottle waste.
>"Mr. Ivester announced plans to sell Coke in
>recycled-plastic bottles in December 1990. He
>said it would boost recycling and reduce
>reliance on virgin plastic. During the test-
>marketing, Mr. Ivester led the public
>relations campaign touting consumer acceptance
>and the fact that Coke's recycled-plastic
>bottles met the company's rigorous standards,"
>Best said.
>"Coke's promise to recycle is easily
>documented in the public record. Just read
>Mr. Ivester's own words and Coca-Cola's
>promotional materials," said Dr. Bill Sheehan,
>national coordinator for GrassRoots Recycling
>Network from its Athens, Georgia headquarters.
>The Coca-Cola Company news release on December
>4, 1990 contains the following statements from
>Mr. Ivester: "Producing new plastic beverage
>bottles with a blend of recycled plastic is a
>significant step ahead in plastics recycling,"
>says M. Douglas Ivester, senior vice
>president, The Coca-Cola Company and
>president, Coca-Cola USA. "The technology
>will allow the 'closed loop' recycling of our
>plastic bottles, just as our other suppliers
>use recycled aluminum and steel for cans and
>recycled glass for glass bottles."
>According to the December 4, 1990 release, the
>recycled plastic bottle "meets The Coca-Cola
>Company's strict standards for product
>quality, consumer safety and environmental
>Coke stopped using recycled plastic bottles in
>the United States 4 years ago, citing costs.
>Since then, the company dramatically increased
>reliance on virgin-plastic bottles with
>introduction of the 20-ounce, single-serve
>plastic bottle. "New plastic recycling
>techniques approved by FDA add only a fraction
>of a cent per bottle. And Coke uses recycled
>plastic bottles - and even refillable plastic
>bottles - in other countries," Dr. Sheehan
>-more -
>"Recycling rates for the PET plastic soda
>bottle dropped from a peak of 50 percent in
>1994 to only 35.6 percent in 1998 in the
>United States. It is the biggest drop in a
>recycling rate for any beverage packaging
>material in this decade. Coke must take the
>lion's share of responsibility as the industry
>leader," said GRRN Consultant Lance King in
>Washington, D.C. The Cola-Cola Company has 45
>percent of the U.S. market and 50 percent of
>the global market.
>"Coke is creating the problem by switching to
>plastic bottles with no recycled material.
>They're pushing costs in a weak and unstable
>market onto recycling businesses like mine, on
>local government, taxpayers and the
>environment," said Eco-Cycle Executive
>Director Eric Lombardi. Eco-Cycle is the
>largest nonprofit recycling business in the
>nation. Founded in 1976, his organization
>provides recycling services to 280,000
>residents and 800 business clients in Boulder
>County, Colorado.
>"It's time for Coca-Cola to take
>responsibility for the growing plastic bottle
>waste and stop trying to pass the buck,"
>Lombardi said.
>Local governments feel the problem directly.
>City councils and public agencies in
>communities in 3 states have already passed
>resolutions targeting Coke's plastic bottle
>waste. These include: the City of
>Gainesville, Florida; the Winona County Board
>of Commissioners in Minnesota; and, in
>California the City of West Hollywood, the
>Alameda County Source Reduction and Recycling
>Board, and the San Luis Obispo Integrated
>Waste Management Authority.
>"Local governments are paying to move our
>recycled plastic soda bottles because Coke and
>others are failing to do their part to build
>stable markets," GRRN Board Member Anne Morse
>said. Morse is the Winona County recycling
>coordinator, with first-hand experience in
>dealing with the growing plastic waste
>Coca-Cola counters complaints about its
>plastic bottles by citing high overall
>recycling rates for all beverage containers
>(aluminum, glass and plastic combined) and
>saying it buys $2 billion worth of recycled
>products and supplies annually in the U.S.
>"Coke's management simply wants to change the
>subject. But the facts speak for themselves.
>In 1998, industry data shows that 2 of every 3
>plastic Coke bottles sold in the United States
>were dumped, not recycled. Mr. Ivester's
>company is using more virgin plastic and less
>recycled packaging. The problem is getting
>worse, not better," said King.
>Pat Franklin, executive director of the
>Arlington, Virginia-based Container Recycling
>Institute, which provides independent analysis
>of container and packaging policies and
>trends, said "Coca-Cola is misleading the
>public by claiming credit for high beverage
>container recycling rates. The highest
>recycling rates are all in 'bottle bill'
>states, where deposits create a financial
>incentive to recycle. Coke has fought bottle
>bills for 30 years, spending tens of millions
>of dollars, and continues to oppose these laws
>"We are gaining support among public
>officials, recycling leaders,
>environmentalists, consumers, and Coca-Cola
>shareholders for our campaign - with 88
>endorsers in 26 states. Through the
>advertising campaign, GRRN expects to reach
>millions more people," Dr. Sheehan said. For
>more information see the GRRN Internet web-
>site at www.grrn.org.
> ###
>NOTE: The NY Times ad will be viewable on
>GRRN's website (www.grrn.org - go to Coke
>Campaign) later today.
>Bill Sheehan
>Network Coordinator
>GrassRoots Recycling Network
>P.O. Box 49283
>Athens GA 30604-9283
>Tel: 706-613-7121
>Fax: 706-613-7123