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Waste & Recycling March 17, 2017 01:30:17 PM

Greenpeace calls for increased use of recycled plastics by bottling industry

Paul Ploumis
ScrapMonster Author
According to the survey, recycled content accounted for only a small fraction of the recycled PET in new containers.
Greenpeace calls for increased use of recycled plastics by bottling industry

SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): Greenpeace-the environmental group has urged the bottling industry to use more recycled plastics. The recommendation follows a survey conducted by the organization among world’s six largest soft drink companies, which revealed that these companies use only very less recycled PET to create new bottles. The companies covered by the survey include Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo, Suntory, Danone, Dr Pepper Snapple and Nestle. Greenpeace alleges that major soft drinks companies have failed to act on ocean plastics.

PET bottles, most commonly used for packaging soft drinks, in the second largest consumed plastic packaging in the world, next to throw-away plastics, as per studies. In 2014, nearly 530 billion PET bottles were produced around the world. Also, it was projected that the production is expected to grow at 4.7% per year. Going by that estimate, the world is expected to produce nearly 650 billion plastic bottles in 2019.

Studies indicate that throwaway plastic bottles and bottle tops are the most common type of plastic packaging found washed up on the world’s shorelines. Also, plastic bottles are the second most commonly found type of plastic packaging on the ocean surface. The bottles that float on water surface are just a tip of the iceberg, as majority of such bottles are said to sink into the ocean. Moreover, it can hundreds of years for soft drink bottles to fully degrade. The Greenpeace survey noted that soft drinks industry lacked concrete step of actions to prevent their plastic bottles ending up in oceans.

According to the survey, recycled content accounted for only a small fraction of the recycled PET in new containers. The top six companies use a combined average of just 6.6 percent recycled PET globally, the survey revealed.

The total sales of five out of the six companies surveyed, amounted to more than 2 million tonnes. The above figure is without including the sales by Coca-Cola, which disclosed to respond to the survey on the total number of plastic bottles sold by them per year. Considering the fact that Coca-Cola is the world’s largest soft drinks company with sales of more than 1.9 billion drinks per day, the total footprint made by plastic bottles may be much more.

Greenpeace noted that although the surveyed companies encourages its customers to recycle and features recycling symbols on its plastic drinks bottles, many of them are unwilling to publicly disclose how much recycled plastic (rPET) are being used by them in new bottles. The environmental group urged the companies to ultimately downsize the production of throwaway plastic bottles and consider switching over to alternative packaging solutions. In the meantime, the companies should ensure that new bottles are strictly made out of 100% recycled plastic.

The environmental group recommended that companies should accept their responsibility for ocean plastics pollution and implement steps to dramatically reduce the use of throwaway plastic packaging. The companies should prioritize reusable packaging and develop delivery systems based on reuse. In addition, they must ensure that all remaining packaging is made from 100% recycled content. On top of that, the companies must willingly disclose the types and amount of plastic they use, reuse and recycle.

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