[GRRN] Soft Drink/College Deal - Recycling Partners???????

patfranklin (cri@container-recycling.org)
Tue, 3 Aug 1999 10:15:21 -0400 (EDT)


In light of GRRN's Coke Campaign I thought ya'll might like to be in on a
conversation going on within the CURC listserve RE: Soft Drink College
Deals. It's an issue that has been bandied about over the past few months.
It was resurrected several weeks ago and I responded with the first message
below. The comments are listed in chronological order.......

August 1 - FROM: Pat Franklin, CRI

Someone from Massachusetts wrote on 7/15/99 "I consider Pepsi our recycling
partner. They help us significantly with our recycling efforts and in
return we they have our soft drink machine vending contract (which includes
commissions and support of athletics and social functions). I am happy they
get some good PR on our campus for the work they are doing. We reevaluate
the relationship
every 3 years."

Well, Coke and Pepsi may do some mighty fine things for her school and
others, but she should know that they spent one heck of a big bundle to
prevent passage of a bill in 1997 that would have expanded the Massachusetts
Bottle Bill to include non-carbonated drinks like teas, waters, sports
drinks and juice drinks. And, of course, they are spending big bucks to keep
bottle bills in CA, IA, MI, NY and elsewhere from being expanded.

And that's not all. They are working, as we speak, to REPEAL the existing
bottle bill in MA and other states. Together with other anti-bottle bill
interests, they have promised to spend upwards of $800,000 to defeat the
expansion effort in CA.

Just ask the folks in KY, NC, SC, VA, MO, KS and SD who are trying to get a
bottle bill passed in their respective states what good partners Coke and
Pepsi are. They'll give you an earful.

More importantly, Coke and Pepsi continue to profit from the PET soda
bottle, but neither will do their part to increase markets for recycled PET
by using recycled content in their plastic bottles.

Whatever you think about bottle bills, they work. And, without them, we'd
probably be recycling about 35% of our beer and soda containers instead of
50%. Either way it's an "F" in most college courses. But I guess half a
loaf is better than a third of a loaf.
August 2 - From: Roger Guzowski, Five College Recycling,

>>I think we have to recognize that there is good and bad in any large
>>company. Look at our own schools. Are all of our recycling efforts
>>invalidated because the custodial department uses a toxic cleaner or they
>>have inefficient lighting in some buildings or maybe the endowment has
>>investments in companies who are environmentally evil.
>>I don't think discrediting the positive actions of a distributor because of
>>the politics of the parent company will get us anywhere. People do what
>>they can. I think we should be encouraging these small local partnerships.
>> Sometimes corporate policy needs the same grassroots efforts that
>>government policy needs.
>>If we cannot separate the two and are only willing to condemn, I think
>>we've failed and had better take a long look in the mirror at ourselves and
>>our own employers.
>>Just food for thought.>
August 3 - FROM: Jon Miller

Coke anyone?
>> Condemnation is appropriate when the facts are clear. The relationship
of local distributors is that of an agent and therefore reflects and
contractually passes on the corporate philosophy of the parent company.
That said, the issue can also be looked in terms of waste. Coke, Pepsi and
all producers in general pass responsibility and cost of product packaging
disposal onto the consumer. Either directly through higher taxes to support
market less recycling programs and waste collection from the consumers home
or higher prices paid for beverages at various contained venues (campus's)
to support the disposal of product packaging waste.
>> Additionally, exclusive pouring rights contracts are in effect
monopolistic and derisive to the free market and competition. Look to
Belgium for the recent raiding of Coca-Cola's headquarters there by the
government to investigate price fixing and monopolistic pricing strategies.
All this after the global giant, Coca-Cola denied in vain the existence of
any problems with their product just two months before while children were
Looking for positives in a global conglomerate the likes of Coke is likened
to searching for a needle in a hay stack. This company is run on pure
unadulterated greed that has no boundaries, no consideration for the law in
any country, and with zero commitment to the environment or concern.
Profit and profit alone is their motto which is demonstrated daily.
Ideological commitments are made by leaders and as long as the leaders are
working for the stock holders (could be many of us) then they have few
opportunities to change the focus and culture of the corporation when their
continued existence is based on return on Assets and shareholders value. In
a country where money talks and BS walks, consumer behavior is the only
avenue to discover, expose, educate and boycott in order to alter corporate
inertia. Good luck in this as we are virtually all of us too busy making a
living and paying our taxes to rebel against the constant crush of the
mechanism of multinational gravity. Does Anarchism live after our basic
needs are met?
>> Nuff said. Jon Miller
Container Recycling Institute
1911 Ft Myer Drive, Suite 900
Arlington, Virginia 22209
703/276-9800 fax 276-9587