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[GreenYes] Beware data from elsewhere

Using beverage container recycling data from distant communities may provide little benefit. The volume and ratio of containers generated and recovered in one location may vary widely from data elsewhere for many reasons, including:

1. weather. Soft drink folks say that sales are the highest in Huntsville, AL and Houston, TX, places where it's hot and muggy. Consumption is lower in cooler climates.

2. religion. Per capita beer consumption is lower in Salt Lake City than New Orleans, for example.

3. the number of tap outlets. Package sales of beer through retailers are lower in communities where bars are numerous and popluar (Ireland is a great example).

4. water quality. Bottled water sales rise in communities that have nasty, skanky-tasting water.

5. population demographics. Retirees in Arizona and Florida aren't consuming the Gatorade and sports drinks that are being consumed by the college kids in the Triangle Region of NC.

6. self manufacture. Some soft drink bottlers, including many in NC, are part of coops that make their own plastic bottles. This gives them an economic motive to favor plastic over aluminum that may not be present where bottlers buy from independent producers.

7. percentage of the beer market held by microbreweries. I live in the land of micro beer as Portland has more breweries than any other city in the world and the market share for micro beer in this state is the highest in the U.S. (my staff are major contributors to this trend). As a result, we buy more beer in glass than elsewhere (it's nearly impossible to find micro beers in aluminum).

Jerry Powell, Editor
Resource Recycling
PO Box 42270
Portland, OR 97242-0270
(503) 233-1305
(503) 233-1356 fax

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