​Beverage Leaders Team Up to Reduce New Plastic Use


NATIONAL REPORT — Leading beverage companies The Coca-Cola Co., Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo are teaming up to reduce plastic use through the "Every Bottle Back" initiative.

The campaign seeks to reduce the industry’s use of new plastic by making significant investments to improve the collection of valuable plastic bottles so they can be made into new bottles.

Every Bottle Back is being executed in conjunction with World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which will provide strategic advice to help measure the industry’s progress in reducing its plastic footprint, and The Recycling Partnership and Closed Loop Partners will 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," said 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," she added.

Spearheaded by ABA, the Every Bottle Back initiative will:

  • Measure industry progress in reducing the use of new plastic in the United States 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 percent 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. According to a poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies (POS) on behalf of ABA, nearly half of consumers were unaware that America’s leading beverage companies are already making bottles that are 100 percent recyclable, including the caps.

The majority of plastic beverage containers in the United States are made from polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, a strong, lightweight and safe plastic approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in food and beverage containers.

Through the Every Bottle Back initiative, The Coca-Cola Co., Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo are stepping up efforts to reclaim as much plastic packaging as possible to ensure it is remade into new PET bottles. The companies will begin introducing voluntary messaging on packages beginning in late 2020.

"We're proud to come together with our competitors to address the serious issue of plastic waste in our environment," said James Dinkins, president, Coca-Cola North America. "We know we cannot do this alone and, in order to meet our goals and those of our industry, we need to work in partnership to drive collective action to ensure our bottles have second, third and fourth lives through continued recycling and re-use."

The Every Bottle Back initiative supports Keurig Dr Pepper's top environmental priority to reduce packaging waste as it supports a circular economy with strong collective action, according to Derek Hopkins, chief commercial officer, Keurig Dr Pepper.

"We have seen the meaningful impact this industry can have when we collaborate, and we are proud to be partnering to reduce our collective use of new plastic, while increasing the recycling and reuse of our 100 percent recyclable bottles," he said.