Want Increased Recycling? Bottling Companies Pass the Buck to Government
Well maybe not a buck, but a nickel or dime, depending on the value of local cash redemption values. As You Sow, a corporate accountability and corporate social responsibility advocacy group, recently released its third beverage container recycling scorecard report. The report’s results are about as shocking as the sight of empty plastic beverage bottles on the side of a road or overflowing from a trash bin. For advocates of increased recycling who agree that only so many PET bottles can be converted to tree planters, toothbrushes, or hamster cages, the results are not very encouraging. There is some news, however in this report: As You Sow’s work reveals that Coca-Cola and Nestlé Waters North America have started to push for extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws for post consumer packaging, a standard in Canada and Western Europe. As You Sow’s research also shares other sentiments from the beverage industry:
- As far as the PET bottle manufacturing industry goes, no notable increases in recycled content have occurred the past three years.
- PepsiCo is still the leader in recycled PET use with a 10 percent rate across all product lines.
- Food retailers and other companies with a business core not focused on beverages, like Whole Foods, have aggressive set goals to increase recycled content.
- Nestlé Waters, PepsiCo, and Coca-Cola are the Girl and Boy Scouts of the beverage companies when it comes to container recycling, but no one scored higher than a B-. Many companies received F’s--or, speaking from experience, the grade really should have been an “Incomplete” because they did not bother to answer the survey, or it was lost in the mail room, or got clogged in the email spam filter.
- Regulations, the “R” word, is about as popular right now as fiscal stimulus, shovel ready projects, and health care.
- A national program will never happen, though it should be far easier than education reform or (deep breath) health care reform. It only takes one loudmouth politician to scream “states rights” and the discussion ends--a sad but true commentary of our political system.
- Any talk of the above will bring back the world’s most annoying woman who filled her shopping cart with generic brand sugar drinks while railing against sugary drink taxes, reminding us that government needs to stop taxing us and get out of our lives.