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11/11/2019 | 2 MINUTE READ

America's Big Beverage Companies Announce New Recycling Initiative

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Through the Every Bottle Back initiative, beverage companies are stepping up efforts to reclaim as much plastic packaging as possible to ensure it is remade into new PET bottles.

Long-time competitors Coca-Cola Co., Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo all joined together to announce the launch of the Every Bottle Back initiative, a new effort to improve the collection of plastic bottles so they can be made into new bottles. These competitors are coming together to support the circular plastics economy by reinforcing to consumers the value of their 100% recyclable plastic bottles and caps and ensuring they don’t end up as waste in oceans, rivers or landfills.

This program is being executed in conjunction with The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) who will provide strategic scientific advice to help measure the industry’s progress in reducing its plastic footprint. The Recycling Partnership and Closed Loop Partners will also assist in deploying funds for the initiative.

“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,” says Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association (ABA). “Our bottles are designed to be remade, and that is why this program is so important. We are excited to partner with the leading environmental and recycling organizations to build a circular system for the production, use, recovery and remaking of our bottles. Every Bottle Back will ensure that our plastic bottles are recovered after use and remade into new bottles, so we can reduce the amount of new plastic used to bring our beverages to market. This is an important step for our industry, and it builds on our ongoing commitment to protecting the environment for generations to come.” 

The Every Bottle Back initiative, spearheaded by ABA, will:

  • Measure industry progress in reducing the use of new plastic in the U.S. through a collaboration with ReSource: Plastic, WWF’s corporate activation hub to help companies turn their ambitious plastic waste commitments into meaningful and measurable progress by rethinking the way plastic material is produced, used and recycled. Specifically, ABA will use the ReSource: Plastic accounting methodology to track on the collective progress made on executing strategies to reduce the use of new plastic as well as a resource in identifying additional interventions.
  • Improve the quality and availability of recycled plastic in key regions of the country by directing the equivalent of $400 million to The Recycling Partnership and Closed Loop Partners through a new $100 million industry fund that will be matched three-to-one by other grants and investors. The investments will be used to improve sorting, processing and collection in areas with the biggest infrastructure gaps to help increase the amount of recycled plastic available to be remade into beverage bottles. 
  • Launch a public awareness campaign to help consumers understand the value of 100% recyclable bottles through community outreach and partner engagement and reinforce the importance of getting these bottles back, so they can be remade into new bottles. 
  • Work together to leverage its packaging to remind consumers that its bottles are 100% recyclable and can be remade into new bottles. Beverage companies will begin introducing voluntary messaging on packages beginning in late 2020.

Keefe Harrison, chief executive officer of The Recycling Partnership, added “The beverage industry cannot deliver on its promises of sustainable packaging without serious improvements to the current U.S. recycling system. Working in partnership with the beverage industry on its Every Bottle Back initiative will help to improve local recycling and provide Americans with stronger recycling programs for all materials, including plastic bottles. We applaud ABA’s members for launching meaningful, measurable work.”

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