Published 4 years ago.
About a 11 minute read.
Image: SC Johnson
The US’ biggest beverage companies have invested into ensuring they get ‘Every Bottle Back’ for recycling; Bluewater is helping Londoners ditch single-use bottles; and SC Johnson and Plastic Bank are broadening the Social Plastic ecosystem.
Image credit: Brian Yurasits/Unsplash
This week, the US’ leading beverage companies — The Coca-Cola Company,
Keurig Dr Pepper
and PepsiCo — launched
the Every Bottle
Back initiative, a breakthrough
effort to reduce the industry’s use of new plastic by making significant
investments to improve the collection of the industry’s valuable plastic bottles
so they can be made into new bottles.
“The leadership exhibited by The Coca-Cola Company, Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo
provides the investment necessary to optimize recycling in these cities and
states,” said Ron Gonen, CEO of Closed Loop Partners. “This partnership will
serve as a model for the effectiveness of industry collaboration in modernizing
recycling infrastructure and driving a reduction in the use of virgin plastic.”
The competitors are coming together to support a circular plastics economy by
reinforcing to consumers the value of their 100 percent 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 two of the
country’s most prominent environmental nonprofits and the leading investment
firm focused on the development of the circular economy. WWF will provide
strategic scientific advice to help measure the industry’s progress in reducing
and The Recycling
and Closed Loop
Partners will assist
in deploying funds for the initiative.
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“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.”
According to the ABA, Every Bottle Back will:
Measure industry progress in reducing the use of new plastic in the United
States through a collaboration with ReSource:
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 accounting methodology to track 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
Public Opinion Strategies on behalf of ABA, nearly half of consumers
were unaware that the US’s leading beverage companies are already making
bottles that are 100 percent recyclable, including the caps.
“Reaching our goal of No Plastic in Nature by 2030 will only happen if business,
governments and the NGO community work together to fix a broken plastic material
system,” said Sheila Bonini, SVP of private sector engagement at WWF. “ABA
is driving this sense of collaboration within the beverage industry to address
one critical piece within this system, which is PET recycling in the US.
Measured by our ReSource: Plastic footprint tracker, the efforts made
through Every Bottle Back will be met with data-driven solutions to ensure that
real progress is being made. We hope the ambition raised by this initiative will
inspire other industries to follow suit within the broader effort to stop
plastic waste pollution.”
Added Keefe Harrison, CEO of The Recycling Partnership: “The beverage
industry cannot deliver on its promises of sustainable packaging without serious
improvements to the current US 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.”
The majority of plastic beverage containers in the United States are made from
polyethylene terephthalate (PET) — a strong, lightweight and safe plastic
approved by the US FDA for use in food and beverage containers. Because of its
quality and versatility, recycled PET for years has been in high demand for use
in an array of products as varied as clothing, carpets and playground equipment.
Through Every Bottle Back, beverage companies are stepping up efforts to reclaim
as much plastic packaging as possible to ensure it is remade into new, rPET
These efforts support other sustainability efforts underway by The Coca-Cola
Company, Keurig Dr
Pepper and PepsiCo.
“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,”
said Derek Hopkins, Chief Commercial Officer at Keurig Dr Pepper. “The Every
Bottle Back initiative supports KDP’s top environmental priority to reduce
packaging waste, as we work to support a circular economy with strong collective
Image credit: Bluewater
Over in the UK, Swedish water tech and solutions
leader Bluewater is helping grocery store
consumers in northern London ditch single-use plastic water bottles with the
global launch of its first in-store water-dispensing station and a range of
re-useable, stainless steel bottles.
Shoppers at the pioneering Thornton’s
Budgens supermarket in north London’s Belsize
Park district can now purchase water served still or sparkling direct from an
easy-to-use Bluewater station rather than plucking a plastic bottle from a store
Served chilled still or sparkling, the water is purified to remove contaminants
such as lead, medical residues, pesticides, chemicals and
and then re-mineralised to add trace minerals such as calcium and magnesium.
Customers bring along their own refillable bottles to collect the water or buy a
Bluewater stainless steel bottle — which, unlike their plastic counterparts, can
be refilled time and again to help protect marine, human and other planet life.
“At Bluewater, we’ve made it our mission to provide people everywhere clean
drinking water with our super-efficient water purifier solutions and thereby cut
the huge plastic bottle waste that is harming wildlife and marine
environments on a massive scale,” said Bluewater founder and CEO, Bengt
Rittri, a Swedish environmental entrepreneur. “Around 525 billion plastic
bottles are sold every year. Most plastic bottles are not recycled, instead
ending up in landfill or our oceans to ultimately break down into microplastics
and end up into our food and water chain.”
The heart of the Bluewater water station is a point-of-use Bluewater PRO water
purifier, which harnesses a patented, second-generation reverse osmosis system
called SuperiorOsmosis™ that removes over 99 percent of contaminants that may be
found in municipal water. Water contaminants can include toxic metals such as
lead; chemicals ranging from nitrates to PFAS and pesticides; pharmaceuticals
including bisphenol-A, antibiotics and opiates; microorganisms and
Image credit: Ocean Bottle
Meanwhile, SC Johnson and Plastic Bank have launched a global partnership to
fight poverty while stopping plastic waste from entering the ocean. The
three-year effort creates recycling infrastructure on a massive scale across
five countries and pays residents to collect plastic in exchange for digital
savings and rewards. Once the plastic is collected and exchanged, it will be
recycled into the first-ever 100 percent Social Plastic® bottle, which SC
Johnson will use for its Windex® line beginning in February 2020.
“More than 8 million metric tons of plastic leak into the ocean every year, so
building infrastructure that stops plastic before it gets into the ocean is key
to solving this issue,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson.
“I’m particularly pleased that this program we developed with Plastic Bank helps
to address poverty and this critical environmental issue at the same time.”
SC Johnson and Plastic Bank already have nine collection centers in
Indonesia. Under the new three-year agreement, they will expand to 509 total
collection centers and points across several countries including Indonesia, the
Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam — four of the five countries that
contribute most to ocean
— and Brazil.
With the global increase in scale that this partnership will bring, Plastic Bank
plans to collect 30,000 metric tons of plastic waste over three years. This is
the equivalent of stopping approximately 1.5 billion plastic bottles from
entering our waterways and ocean, as 100 percent of the plastic will be
collected within 30 miles of an ocean or waterway in countries without a formal
waste collection infrastructure.
Extreme poverty often compounds extreme pollution, as many developing countries
lack the resources necessary to build waste removal and recycling
infrastructure. Researchers estimate that 8 million tons of plastic waste enter
the ocean every year, and approximately 90 percent of it comes from 10 rivers
around the world — eight in Asia and two in Africa. This pollution has
far-reaching implications for our planet and all life on Earth.
Developed by Plastic Bank, the blockchain-enabled Social Plastic®
builds and activates recycling infrastructure in the world’s poorest regions and
invites residents to earn a stable income by joining the effort. Residents can
collect and exchange plastic for digital tokens, which can then be used to gain
access to necessities, healthcare coverage, school tuition, local currency and
more — reducing the risk of loss or theft.
Residents can substantially boost their incomes, according to Plastic Bank, as
they receive the spot market rate plus premium for the plastic they collect.
Once collected, the plastic is recycled into Social Plastic® and sold to make
“Together with SC Johnson, we now have the ability to help close the loop and
advance a circular economy, while developing infrastructure in the areas where
it is needed the most,” said David Katz, Plastic Bank’s founder and CEO —
and keynote speaker at SB
Oceans, later this month. “We
are eager to expand exponentially and maximize our efforts in cleaning the
environment, prohibiting waste from entering the ocean and alleviating poverty
simultaneously. There is no better partner than Fisk and SC Johnson — other CEOs
should take note.”
The partnership with Plastic Bank is just one way SC Johnson is carrying out its
commitment to help tackle the plastic pollution crisis. The company has steadily
increased the use of post-consumer recycled plastic in its products and removed
excess plastics wherever possible. Since the unveiling of Windex concentrates in
2011, the company has also expanded its refill options to other popular cleaning
brands including Pledge®, Scrubbing Bubbles®, Shout® and
fantastik®. Every time consumers choose a concentrate product, they use
nearly 80 percent less plastic.
The new line of SC Johnson concentrates launched in the US and Canada last
summer — with Scrubbing Bubbles, Windex and fantastik; the next wave of
concentrate refills – including Scrubbing Bubbles, Windex and Mr Muscle® – are
launching in Mexico, the UK, China and Japan this fall.
Published Nov 1, 2019 2pm EDT / 11am PDT / 6pm GMT / 7pm CET