WASHINGTON — Three leading beverage manufacturers are coming together in an initiative to reduce the industry’s use of plastic.
The Coca-Cola Co., Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo are launching Every Bottle Back, an effort to make significant investments to improve the collection of the industry’s plastic bottles so they can be made into new bottles.
“Our industry recognizes the serious need to reduce new plastic in our environment, and we want to do our part to lead with innovative solutions,” said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association, Washington, D.C., which is spearheading the initiative. “Our bottles are designed to be remade, and that is why this program is so important.”
The ABA is working with the World Wildlife Fund, which will provide scientific advice to help measure the industry’s progress in reducing its plastic footprint, and The Recycling Partnership and Closed Loop Partners, which will assist in deploying funds for the initiative.
Here are the goals of Every Bottle Back …
1. Measure progress
Every Bottle Back will measure industry progress in reducing the use of new plastic in the U.S. through a collaboration with WWF’s corporation activation hub, ReSource: Plastic.
The hub’s accounting methodology will be used to track the collective progress made on strategies to reduce the use of new plastic and as a resource in identifying additional interventions.
2. Improve quality, availability of recycled plastic
About $400 million will be directed to The Recycling Partnership and Closed Loop Partners through an industry fund matched by other grants and investors.
These funds will be used to improve sorting, processing and collection in areas with infrastructure gaps to increase the amount of recycled plastic available to be remade into beverage bottles.
3. Increase public awareness
Every Bottle Back will launch a public awareness campaign to help consumers understand the importance of recycling bottles so they can be remade into new ones.
Nearly half of consumers are unaware that America’s leading beverage companies are making bottles that are 100% recyclable, including the caps, according to a poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies on behalf of ABA.
Most plastic beverage containers in the United States are made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a plastic approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in food and beverage containers. Recycled PET has been used for years to make clothing, carpets and playground equipment.
4. Update packaging
Beginning in late 2020, The Coca-Cola Co., Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo will begin introducing voluntary messaging on packages to remind consumers that the companies’ bottles are 100% recyclable.
“We hope the ambition raised by this initiative will inspire other industries to follow suit within the broader effort to stop plastic-waste pollution,” said Sheila Bonini, senior vice president of private sector engagement for WWF.