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Beverage industry, manufacturers mark America Recycles Day

November 15, 2011
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Since 1997, communities across the country have marked America Recycles Day on Nov. 15. The American Beverage Association, Washington, D.C., used the occasion to reinforce that the beverage industry is committed to further minimizing its environmental footprint by reducing, reusing and recycling. The Aluminum Association, Arlington, Va., also noted its support of the day and reminded consumers to recycle all the aluminum they use in their everyday lives.

“Our industry’s commitment to recycling shows not only through our 100 percent recyclable packaging, but also through our efforts to minimize waste and to support recycling programs,” said Susan Neely, American Beverage Association president and chief executive officer, in a statement.

The Aluminum Association noted the material’s recyclability and durability, which is evidenced by the statistic that 75 percent of all aluminum ever produced is still in use today. Recycling aluminum requires only 5 percent of the energy and saves 95 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with primary aluminum production, the association reported.

“People are starting to get the message about recycling,” said Heidi Brock, president of the Aluminum Association, in a statement. “Aluminum cans account for less than 1 percent of the U.S. waste stream, but we still need to do more.”

The aluminum can is the most recycled beverage container in America with 58.1 percent of aluminum cans recycled in 2010, the association reports. The Aluminum Association and industry are committed to a 75 percent aluminum can recycling rate and is working with partners to achieve this goal, it noted.

The non-alcohol beverage industry uses containers that are 100 percent recyclable, according to the ABA. As an industry, it is increasing the use of post-consumer recycled materials, reducing waste and supporting recycling initiatives in communities across the country to help bring beverage containers full circle. The association’s Recycle Together initiative, which is operated with The Climate Group, supported recent initiatives for local recycling in Knoxville, Tenn., and Hartford, Conn. 

In addition, the ABA highlighted its member companies that also support and promote recycling through their businesses and among their consumers. The Coca-Cola Co. has placed more than 150,000 recycling bins in event and public spaces since 2008 and also is providing access through new Reimagine Beverage Containers recycling centers, which allow consumers to bring large amounts of can and PET bottles to a convenient location.

Following its first full year of collecting comprehensive waste data, the Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) is now able to report on the recycling yields at all of its manufacturing locations. DPS currently recycles 75 percent of its manufacturing solid waste, which is close to the 80 percent goal the company established two years ago.

Starting at its headquarters in Bethesda, Md., The Coca-Cola Co. subsidiary Honest Tea sponsors Bethesda Green, a local initiative promoting a healthy economy and sustainable living practices, the ABA reported.

Nestlé Waters North America is the sponsor of the inaugural Recycle-Bowl, a comprehensive nationwide recycling competition for elementary, middle and high school students. The school in each state that collects the most recyclable material per capita will receive a prize, and a national champion will be selected from the collection of statewide winners.

PepsiCo formed a multiyear partnership in 2010 with Waste Management and Keep America Beautiful to place Dream Machine recycling kiosks and bins at popular public locations across North America in support of the company’s goal of helping increase beverage container recycling rates to 50 percent by 2018.

The Sunny Delight Beverages Co. (SDBC) noted in its latest Sustainability Report that all of its manufacturing sites reached its zero waste to landfill goal, which is three years ahead of schedule. This has diverted more than 26 million pounds of waste from landfills, the company reported.

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