Coke and Pepsi Responsible for "Trashing America," Hurting Taxpayers and Environment

April 16, 2002
Contact: Lance King - (703) 536-7282
or (706) 613-7121

Coke and Pepsi Responsible for "Trashing America," Hurting Taxpayers and Environment

NEW YORK (APRIL 16, 2002) -- Coke and Pepsi are responsible for a dramatic increase in packaging waste over the last ten years, hurting taxpayers and the environment. Launching a new national campaign with an advertisement on the New York Times 'Op Ed' page today, two national organizations charge Coke and Pepsi with "trashing America."

"Coke and Pepsi waste from used aluminum cans, plastic and glass bottles doubled between 1992 and 2000, according to industry data. A financial incentive is urgently needed to reverse the decline in bottle and can recycling rates. Ten states with refundable deposits on beverage containers recycle more bottles and cans than the other 40 states put together, at almost no cost to taxpayers," Pat Franklin, executive director of the Container Recycling Institute, said today.

"We've chosen to launch a new national campaign in New York City today because decisions here about handling beverage containers have national implications.

New York State is one of ten states with a beverage container deposit law, popularly known as the bottle bill. Deposit laws achieve the highest rates of recycling in the nation - 78 percent on average. Coke and Pepsi have fought these laws for more than 30 years, and want to roll back this sound environmental policy," Franklin said.

The Container Recycling Institute is a national, nonprofit research and education organization, based in Arlington, Virginia. It received a grant from the Florence Fund for the issue advocacy advertisement placed in the New York Times today.

"We believe that companies producing and selling beverages must be made accountable for their packaging waste. The principle is known as producer responsibility, which is a growing trend in policies adopted around the world," GrassRoots Recycling Network Executive Director Bill Sheehan said.

"Our goal is achieving an 80 percent national recycling rate for aluminum cans, plastic and glass bottles, roughly double the current rate," Sheehan said.

"While litter and landfill waste are the first ways most people think about recycling of beverage containers, the environmental footprint left by throwing away millions of bottles and cans every hour is really much bigger than that. We have a choice to pursue an 80 percent national recycling rate, and save the equivalent of 640 million barrels of oil in the next decade, or leave a legacy of waste," CRI Senior Policy Analyst Lance King said.

The Container Recycling Institute and GrassRoots Recycling Network are launching a new Internet website today as part of their joint campaign:

On Wednesday, April 17 leaders from both organizations plan to carry their message to The Coca-Cola Company annual meeting at Madison Square Garden, where they will urge shareholders to support a recycling resolution.

In Hawaii, the Legislature is poised to adopt the first new state deposit law in 16 years, but Coke and Pepsi are leading the battle to defeat it between now and when the legislators adjourn on May 2nd.

"Earlier this month, the beverage and grocery industries waged the first successful campaign to repeal a deposit law - the nation's only local deposit ordinance in Columbia, Missouri," King said. "The most disturbing aspect is the way corporate money and a campaign based on deception corrupted the democratic process."

"Next week, CRI and GRRN will carry concerns about Coke and Pepsi waste to the nation's capital. We will advocate a new policy approach, based on producer responsibility for product and packaging waste," Sheehan said.

The Container Recycling Institute plans to release a series of reports in coming months on the growing beverage container waste problem, deposit laws worldwide, and an examination of the 30-year war waged by Coke and Pepsi against deposit laws," Franklin said.

For more information about the Container Recycling Institute, visit the Internet at: and

For more information on GRRN, visit the Internet at:

Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo shareholders can vote for the recycling resolutions by going to: and selecting the proxy voting links.