Several major U.S. beverage brands would support new laws making producers financially responsible for collection and recycling of post-consumer beverage packaging, according to a new report assessing corporate progress on recycling released by shareholder advocacy groupAs You Sow.
The new report,“Waste
& Opportunity: U.S.
Beverage Container Recycling Scorecard and Report”, is As You Sow’s third
review of the beverage industry since 2006. Nestlé Waters North America
received the highest ranking, followed closely by PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola
Company, and Red Bull. All four received a letter grade of B-. The report discusses new efforts by several
companies to promote Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) mandates to reverse
lagging U.S. bottle and can
“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 MacKerron, Senior Director of As
You Sow’s Corporate Social Responsibility 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 U.S.
Of the 224 billion
beverage containers sold annually in the U.S.
only 29% by weight are recycled; the rest are landfilled or incinerated,
resulting in a huge waste of natural resources. In Europe and Canada, where EPR laws are in place, far higher
levels of containers are recovered.
“This report reflects
the importance As You Sow is placing on an improved recycling model in the U.S.,” says Michael Washburn, director of
sustainability for Nestlé Waters North America. “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
The report is based on
original research and scores companies on key performance areas in packaging.
Grades were based on information submitted by companies who responded to the
survey. Those who did not respond were scored based on publicly available
beverage companies continue to make steady incremental progress on source
reduction but have not demonstrated strong commitments to using recycled
content – a significant driver in reducing the environmental impact of
packaging,” says Amy Galland, Ph.D., As You Sow’s Research Director and author
of the study.
Only PepsiCo maintains a
consistent level of 10% recycled PET in all product lines sold in the U.S. since 2005. Nestlé Waters received
the highest score on container recovery for having better recovery goals and
stated tactical strategies for attaining them than its peers and it, along with
PepsiCo and Red Bull, has stated industry-wide recovery goals.
Brewing companies were
notably absent from the survey participants; Anheuser Busch refused to
participate, suggesting its transparency policies are getting worse. The
company received the second highest score in the 2008 edition of this report.