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America's beverage industry launches public space recycling program

Packaging Digest



The American Beverage Association is honoring America Recycles Day by supporting a pilot project called "Recycle on the Go" in Palm Beach County, Florida, to increase the amount of recycled cans and bottles and decrease the amount of personal waste. As a founding sponsor of America Recycles Day, the beverage industry has engaged in many public-private partnerships around the country to better educate and inform consumers about the importance and ease of recycling.


In 2011, the American Beverage Association became a founding member in the National Recycling Partnership (NRP), created to reinvigorate recycling in America. This historic partnership—which includes the National Recycling Coalition—aims to increase consumer interest in recycling by providing information on what, how and why to recycle.
"Our industry is committed to supporting recycling efforts, and the ‘Recycle on the Go' program is simply another way for us to encourage residents in Palm Beach County—and throughout the nation—to reduce, reuse and recycle," says Susan Neely, American Beverage Assn. president/CEO. "We are honored to be a part of this collaboration with local government, and we look forward to expanding public recycling opportunities like this nationwide."


This year, ABA is providing funding for "Recycle on the Go" bins as well as project support and assistance for promotion and education components of this project. In addition, ABA will be monitoring the results of this project and using that information to help establish a best practices-approach to developing public space recycling programs in other communities.


ABA member companies are also working in their communities on efforts to support and promote recycling, including:


• This year, The Coca-Cola Co. expanded its program with Keep America Beautiful that supports community recycling to include specific recycling bin grant opportunities for colleges. Through this initiative and others, Coca-Cola has now placed more than 160,000 bins throughout North America since 2008. This is in support of Coca-Cola's goal to recover 50 percent of the equivalent bottles and cans it places in market by 2015. In addition, Coca-Cola diverts more than 94 percent of solid waste from landfills in its North American facilities.


• In 2011, Dr Pepper Snapple Group diverted 81 percent of manufacturing solid waste—more than 37,000 tons—from the waste stream. This exceeded the goal it set just a year earlier to recycle 80 percent of solid waste from its manufacturing plants by 2015. The company has since raised that goal to 90 percent and is well on the way to achieving it, expanding the work it is doing with third-party recycling companies to increase the efficiency of its landfill diversion efforts.


• To celebrate the launch of its new ReBorn bottle, made with 50 percent recycled plastic, Nestlé Waters North America's Arrowhead brand is partnering with Keep California Beautiful (KCB) to promote America Recycles Day in San Francisco. Arrowhead, KCB and other community partners are hosting a recycling education and beautification event near Fisherman's Wharf with more than 250 volunteers. Arrowhead is also providing funds to install four solar-powered BigBelly bins that serve as a one-stop solution for recyclables, compostables and trash, which is a first for public spaces in the U.S. Nestlé Waters is working with a coalition to advance, at the state level, a legislative solution to structural problems with recycling. NWNA supports Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging and printed paper that would increase recycling rates, reduce government spending and use private sector business savvy to lower costs.


• PepsiCo created the Dream Machine Recycling Initiative on Earth Day 2010 in collaboration with Waste Management and Keep America Beautiful to address the need for greater public access to recycling solutions and to help increase the national recycling rate. Since program launch, 4,000 Dream Machine bins and electronic kiosks have been placed, and nearly 1,000 K-12 schools across 34 states have participated in the Dream Machine Recycle Rally program. This has resulted in more than 160 million bottles and cans being diverted from landfills to recycling. By increasing availability of recycled PET (rPET), PepsiCo has sustained its commitment to using rPET in its beverage bottles, making it one of the largest users of food-grade post-consumer PET. PepsiCo is also making great progress in building sustainable facilities. For example, Frito-Lay's Casa Grande, Ariz., manufacturing facility produces zero waste to landfill and runs primarily on renewable energy and recycled water.


• The Sunny Delight Beverages Co. continues to maintain Zero Waste to Landfill at all five of its manufacturing sites-diverting nearly 36 million pounds of waste since setting its Zero Waste goal in 2007. Externally, and in partnership with Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, in 2012 SDBC sponsored its second recycling challenge with some local schools to help them reduce their waste. The goals of these in-school recycling challenges have been to divert waste from landfills; educate students and staff about the importance of recycling, composting and environmental stewardship; and to help the participating schools work towards permanent, zero waste programs. This year the participating schools diverted 88,485 pounds, or 44.2 tons, of waste from landfills. SDBC is now entering its third year partnership with Keep Cincinnati Beautiful and some local schools in a sustainability challenge that will include water and energy reductions in addition to waste reductions.


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