Beverage company accused of fighting deposit-return bottle bill in Australia.
An activist group is collecting signatures to express opposition to what it says are efforts by Coca-Cola to fight an Australian deposit-return scheme for beverage containers.
SumofUs.org, which defines itself as “a global corporate watchdog,” sent out an e-mail in late February stating that “more than 100,000 people from 150 countries around the world have signed a new petition by SumOfUs.org, demanding the Coca-Cola Company, the world’s largest beverage company, end its opposition to public recycling programs in Australia and around the world.”
On its website, SumofUs.org links itself to several activist causes, but as of late February it was devoting considerable attention to its petition to oppose a lawsuit it says Coca-Cola has filed to oppose a beverage deposit-return scheme in Australia’s Northern Territory.
“In Australia, after a state government created a 10-cent refund on recycling plastic bottles, Coca-Cola poured money into a misleading campaign to oppose the plan. Now that the plan passed, Coca-Cola is suing the government to stop the program,” says SumofUs in its appeal to gather additional signatures.
In other parts of the world, Coca-Cola has invested considerable amounts of money to recycle polyethylene terephthalate (PET) beverage bottles. (See the Recycling Today article “The Real Thing” from February 2010 here. ]
“Coke claims the program is a tax that hurts its sales, but container deposit programs have been implemented throughout the world, and studies have shown that there’s no evidence for Coke’s argument,” says Kaytee Riek, a campaign manager for SumOfUs.org. “Coca-Cola’s crusade against recycling is just knee-jerk anti-environmentalism.”
The Australian program Coke is suing to stop has already encouraged people to recycle more than 35 million containers since it was implemented, says Riek.