ARLINGTON, DC -- (November 12, 1998) Plastic 16 and 20-ounce soda bottles which were non-existent ten years ago, now make up 14 percent of the soft drink market. But the same plastic bottles that generate huge profits for the Coca-Cola Company and its bottlers create huge costs for cities, according to The Container Recycling Institute (CRI), a nonprofit, education organization that studies container and packaging waste issues.
What is fueling the growth of the 20-ounce no-return plastic bottle? "The answer is simple," said Pat Franklin, Executive Director of CRI. "Profits! The single-serve plastic bottle brings a profit of $5.34 for the bottler and $8.86 per case for the retailer. A bottler has to sell 26 cases of cans for every single case of 20-ounce plastic bottles to make the same dollar profit."
According to CRI, an estimated 10 billion plastic Coke bottles were sold last year in the U.S., more than 6 billion of which were disposed of at taxpayer expense. The group is calling on Mr. M. Doug Ivester, Chairman and CEO of, The Coca-Cola Company, to recycle old bottles into new bottles to reduce the waste going to landfills and incinerators and save municipal governments what CRI estimates is tens of millions of dollars a year in disposal costs.
"We hope to draw attention to the waste taxpayers are left to deal with after the world's leading soft drink manufacturer pockets the profits from their plastic bottle," said Franklin. Along with the GrassRoots Recycling Network and dozens of other environmental groups and recyclers we are urging the millions of Coke consumers who also recycle, to join the COKE - TAKE IT BACK! campaign by mailing back their plastic soda bottles to The Coca-Cola Company. The message to Coke is, "Take this bottle and make it into a new bottle."
Franklin says that the Coca-Cola Company alone could keep about 200 million pounds of soda bottles out of the waste stream next year if they used just 25 percent recycled content in their plastic bottles. "This would also boost the recycling rate for plastic soda bottles which has dropped every year for the past three years and is now at just 36 percent," she said.
She noted that the plastic soda bottle has made the glass soda bottle an 'antique' and is poised to do the same to the aluminum can. "Both glass bottles and aluminum cans are made with recycled materials," said Franklin, "and we want Coke to make their plastic bottles out of old bottles. They're doing it in Australia and other countries and they can do it here in their own backyard?"
"The next time you say, "Coca-Cola", just remember that in the one second it took you to say those two words, 200 plastic Coke bottles were dumped in a landfill somewhere in the USA -- 200 every second, 700,000 every hour, 17 million every day, more than 6 billion every year -- all at taxpayers expense. It's 'corporate subsidy' and a 'solid waste'," said Franklin.