Washington, DC – America’s non-alcoholic beverage industry and The Climate Group are joining forces in a powerful new partnership to dramatically increase recycling as one way to reduce climate change and protect the environment. Under this agreement, the American Beverage Association, with its Full Circle Plan, becomes a founding member of The Climate Group’s Recycle Together initiative.
“We’re proud of this new partnership with The Climate Group. Through Recycle Together we hope to see more beverage containers recycled and we also want to encourage more businesses and industries to partner with us to improve recycling across the country and reduce the impact on the environment,” American Beverage Association President and CEO Susan Neely said.
Recycling grew in its early years, but has since leveled off. However, when best practices are shared, it has the potential to expand again. So, the objective of Recycle Together is to identify and promote effective and efficient methods to increase recycling and then share best practices with community leaders seeking to begin or strengthen their recycling programs.
“The beverage industry has done a lot to ensure that its packages can be recycled,” said Chris Walker, director, North America, The Climate Group. “Almost all of the beverage packages made today are recyclable. But once the container reaches the consumers’ hands it leaves the beverage industry’s sphere of influence.”
The Climate Group was created in 2004 to bring together business and government to develop solutions to tackle climate change. The Climate Group’s partnership with the American Beverage Association and the launch of Recycle Together marks another major U.S. initiative designed to create public-private partnerships that deliver tangible greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
Recycling already makes a significant contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions in the U.S. The 85 million tons of municipal solid waste recycled in 2007 reduced GHG emissions by 193 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents. That contribution is the same as removing 35 million cars from the roads.
The Climate Group’s work on Recycle Together will be driven by its newly opened office in Washington, D.C., headed by Kate Krebs, who also recently joined The Climate Group as director of sustainable resources. Ms. Krebs will lead Recycle Together and will actively seek new partners to join the initiative, among other responsibilities.
Recycle Together members will work together to reach out to city leaders, state leaders and recycling officials to create and promote new approaches to recycling that will dramatically increase its uptake. This powerful partnership of brands and non-profits also will seek to inspire other consumer products industries to join Recycle Together.
“Our industry already has led the way in reducing the environmental impact of our packaging, from lightweighting and using more post-consumer recycled material, to ongoing efforts to reduce waste,” said Larry Young, president and CEO of Dr Pepper Snapple Group and chairman of the ABA board of directors. “As a founding partner in The Climate Group’s Recycle Together initiative, we look forward to playing an even bigger role in promoting recycling awareness and action among consumers who enjoy our beverages each and every day.”
“Coca-Cola is proud to play a part in this national effort,” said Sandy Douglas, president, Coca-Cola North America. “Our Company has a long history of supporting recycling and conservation, and this campaign continues our progress toward our commitment to recycle and reuse 100 percent of our cans and bottles in the U.S.”
“Plastic is not the enemy in our society, the failure to recycle is,” said Kim Jeffery, president and CEO of Nestlé Waters North America, Inc. “Our industry, through our relationship with The Climate Group, believes it is time to elevate this issue as an important way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and impact climate change.”
“PepsiCo has a long history of support for recycling and we recognize its vital importance to our industry and our environment,” said Hugh Johnston, president of Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages. “We are proud to be a partner in this coalition, bringing business, government and environmental groups together to foster effective and efficient approaches to recycling in our communities.”
The American Beverage Association’s recycling initiative, the Full Circle Plan, is the founding initiative of Recycle Together. The Full Circle Plan is a comprehensive plan launched in the summer of 2008. As part of the Full Circle Plan, the industry has worked to make lighter containers, to use higher percentages of recycled materials and to make nearly all of its containers 100 percent recyclable. To help ensure that the packaging that is carefully designed to be readily recycled actually is recycled, the second prong of the Full Circle Plan seeks to support community programs that make recycling easier for consumers. The industry believes that the most efficient and effective way to recycle is through comprehensive single-stream curbside recycling.
The Climate Group and Recycle Together will be most active in this component of the Full Circle Plan. Specifically, Recycle Together will support a model city pilot program. This pilot program will help determine best recycling practices for communities. The Recycle Together initiative will take those best practices and develop a web-based tool kit that will provide information to municipal leaders and interested citizens who are looking to improve recycling in their communities.
The third component of Full Circle is motivating consumers to ‘Think Inside the Bin’ and recycle their empty beverage containers. To promote this, America’s non-alcoholic beverage companies will use their marketing expertise to encourage consumers to recycle.
“The beverage industry is doing its part so consumers can do theirs to increase recycling,” Ms. Neely said. “Nearly all of our packaging is made from completely recyclable material – and we want every container to be recycled. We look forward to working with The Climate Group to encourage consumers across the nation to ‘Think Inside the Bin’ and recycle their empty beverage containers.”
“Waste is essentially a design flaw,” said Kate Krebs, director of sustainable resources with The Climate Group. “The beverage industry has come a long way by designing its packaging to be easily recycled, and is the only industry to make a public commitment to doing so. With this initiative, the industry is pledging to use its marketing power to encourage consumers to recycle. We call on consumers and state and city governments to seize this opportunity to make a step-change in recycling in the U.S. – we also call on other industries to follow the beverage companies’ lead and join Recycle Together. Without the active participation of all consumer products sectors, America won’t fully maximize the potential of recycling.”
The American Beverage Association is the trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States.
The Climate Group is an independent, nonprofit organization that works with government and business leaders to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. Its coalition of proactive leaders – from government, business and NGOs – has demonstrated that the emissions reductions needed to stop climate change can be achieved while boosting profitability and competitiveness. Companies, states, regions and cities around the world are realizing there are significant economic as well as environmental advantages of taking decisive action now. The Climate Group was founded in 2004 and has offices in the UK, US, China, India and Australia.