Of the 224 billion drinks containers sold annually in the US, only 29% by weight are recycled, the rest are landfilled or incinerated.

The report Waste & opportunity: US beverage container recycling scorecard and report by As You Sow examined new efforts by several companies to promote extended producer responsibility mandates that would make them financially responsible for the collection and recycling of post‐consumer packaging.

“The major development since our last survey has been the willingness of leading beverage companies to consider new legislative mandates requiring them to take responsibility for their post‐consumer packaging,” said Conrad Mac‐Kerron, senior director of As You Sow’s CSR program.

“Many beverage and consumer packaged goods companies pay fees in other countries to finance recovery of their packaging. It’s significant that companies are finally acknowledging the need to take responsibility in the US as well.”

The report also benchmarks the leading drinks firms against each other by assessing the progress they have made on recycling. Nestlé Waters North America received the highest ranking, followed closely by PepsiCo, The Coca‐Cola Company, and Red Bull.

The study found much work still needs to be done on recycled content with only PepsiCo maintaining a consistent level of 10% recycled PET in all product lines sold in the US since 2005.

Coca‐Cola was unable to meet a commitment to use 10% rPET across its product lines in 2010. And while Nestlé Waters uses 50% recycled PET in its re‐source branded bottles, it lacks a company‐wide commitment for reprocessed PET or rPET.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Nestlé Waters’ director of sustainability for North America, Michael Washburn, said: “We have learned a lot in the process and appreciate the recognition of our leadership in this space. We hope this dialogue spurs even greater commitment by our industry to recycling.”

The report urged those surveyed to put more resources into designing packaging for recycling that includes full consideration of the end‐of‐life aspect of packaging. It also called for greater use of life cycle assessment data.

Maxine Perella

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