Zero Beverage Container Waste?

Zero Beverage Container Waste?


Eliminating beverage container waste won’t be easy. Without concrete recycling goals and a plan for attaining them, beverage consumption is doomed to continue on its present course, a course that is not sustainable in the long term.

Cutting Beverage Container Waste:
from A lot to Zero

There are a wide variety of steps individuals, organizations and institutions can take to bring us closer to Zero Beverage Container Waste. We’ve taken a stab at A though H (and Z of course!); we hope you’ll pitch in with ideas covering I through Y!

Alternatives to packaged beverages. Daily consumption of packaged beverages has become the norm for the average American… (continued)

Bottled water alternatives. Bottled water consumption has grown more sharply than any other beverage type. Between 1976 and 1996, U.S. bottled water consumption increased 10-fold… (continued)

Curbside improvement. During the 1990s, curbside recycling in the United States mushroomed from about 2,000 programs serving only 15% of the population to 10,000 programs serving about half of the American population… (continued)

Deposit/Return systems place a small, fully refundable deposit (a nickel or a dime) on beverage bottles and cans… (continued)

Education: spread the word about container recycling and reuse… (continued)

Food-venue recycling. At least a third of all packaged beverage consumption takes place outside the home… (continued)

Goal-setting by the beverage industry. We call on the U.S. beverage and packaging industries to join us in adopting these incremental Zero Beverage Container Waste goals… (continued)

Help bring back refillables: Refillable glass beverage bottles have been phased out in the United States, with small exceptions… (continued)

Zero is the goal: If we continue on our current path, remaining content with modest recycling goals of 25% or 30% or even 50%, we will continue to waste energy and resources, pollute the air and water in other parts of the world where raw materials are extracted and processed, and foul our own communities. If we can envision and work towards a waste-free society, we will take a giant step towards a sustainable society. We must articulate this vision to our public and elected officials at the local, state and federal levels, to the corporations that manufacture and distribute the beverages we enjoy, to our friends, family, and neighbors. And each of us needs to live our vision of Zero Beverage Container Waste—every day, by reusing and recycling their beverage cans and bottles and reusing them when possible.