The American Beverage Association (ABA), Washington, D.C., has used America Recycles Day, Nov. 15, to tout the nonalcoholic beverage industry’s “longstanding commitment to further minimizing its environmental impact” through several recycling initiatives.
“From our 100-percent-recyclable packaging to our efforts to minimize waste and support recycling programs, our industry is leading the way and doing our part to reduce our environmental impact,” says Susan Neely, ABA president and CEO. “Ours is an industry standing together in pursuit of solutions to environmental challenges in communities throughout America.”
Neely and the ABA point to several efforts underway by the beverage industry and different ABA members, including:
- In Massachusetts, the industry is working together with communities through the Massachusetts Recycling Challenge to provide technical assistance to implement a pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) waste disposal system. The Challenge team also is working with key cities to establish public space recycling systems to capture beverage containers and other recyclables from town squares, public parks and other public locations.
- On America Recycles Day in 2012, the ABA’s Public Space Recycling Pilot was launched in Palm Beach County, Fla., with nearly 130 recycling bins placed in key locations. One year later, the pilot has already reduced public space litter by 75 percent and significantly reduced trash disposal and increased recycling in all locations.
- The Coca-Cola Co., through community recycling initiatives with organizations like Keep America Beautiful (KAB), has placed more than 220,000 recycling bins in North America since 2008. The initiative is in support of Coca-Cola's goal to recover 50 percent of the equivalent bottles and cans it places in the market by 2015. In addition, Coca-Cola says it diverts more than 95 percent of solid waste from landfills in its North American facilities.
- After surpassing its original goal, Dr. Pepper Snapple (DPS) has created a new target to recycle 90 percent of manufacturing waste by 2015. In 2012, DPS recycled 82 percent of its manufacturing solid waste, diverting more than 32,000 tons of waste from landfills. In addition to its own recycling practices, the company is taking steps to promote consumer recycling, as well. Earlier this year, DPS partnered with KAB to fund the placement of recycling bins in public.
- Nestle Waters North America (NWNA) says water bottled in PET (polyethylene terephthalate) packaging is now recycled at a rate of 39 percent in curbside programs. NWNA also says it is committed to collecting more plastic for recycling, which will allow NWNA and its brands, Resource, Arrowhead and Deer Park, to continue to use half-liter water bottles composed of 50 percent recycled plastic (rPET) and perhaps use more recycled content in the future.
- The PepsiCo Recycling initiative, introduced on Earth Day 2010, focuses on colleges and universities, K-12 schools, gas stations and retail locations with the goal of increasing the U.S. beverage container recycling rate to 50 percent by 2018. Since the program launched, approximately 75 million plastic bottles and aluminum cans have been recycled through Dream Machine kiosks and recycling bins, says PepsiCo. The company also has sustained its commitment to using rPET in its beverage bottles, saying it is one of the largest users of food-grade postconsumer PET.
- Sunny Delight Beverages Co. (SDBC) says all five of its manufacturing plants continue to maintain zero waste to landfill—diverting 41 million pounds of waste since setting its zero waste goal in 2007. SDBC also has a partnership with Keep Cincinnati Beautiful (KCB) focused on helping Cincinnati schools implement single-stream recycling.