America’s leading non-alcohol beverage companies are celebrating America Recycles Day, which takes place Nov. 15, with the latest gains in their mission to eliminate all waste going to landfills from their U.S. production facilities, according to the Washington, D.C.-based American Beverage Association (ABA).
There now are 15 plants that have achieved zero waste, meaning that 100 percent of all waste generated at these facilities is being diverted from landfills, the ABA explains. Several other plants across the country are close to eliminating waste as well.
The beverage industry also has made significant progress in diverting waste from landfills and toward productive uses, the ABA says. Nearly 160 facilities from Hawaii to New England now are diverting 94 percent of their waste from landfills by using innovative approaches and partnerships to minimize their environmental impact, it adds. These facilities are large, averaging 200 employees at each site.
Measures put in place by The Coca-Cola Co., Dr Pepper Snapple Group and PepsiCo Inc., diverted 330,000 tons of waste from landfills in 2015, the ABA reports. For every ton of waste sent to landfill for disposal, 15 tons were diverted from landfills, it adds.
The current level of industry waste diversion exceeds the 90 percent rate of waste diversion that some environmental organizations view as meeting the definition of zero waste. However, the beverage companies’ aim is to eliminate waste to landfill from all U.S. production facilities, the association says.
“Beverage companies have always been leaders in the development of new and innovative ways to reduce industry impact on the environment,” said Susan Neely, ABA president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “We’re increasing water efficiency at bottling plants, we’re reducing emissions from our truck fleets and we are recycling more and wasting less.”
The following are notable innovations used by beverage-makers and distributors:
- Cutting down on energy and materials usage by making product packaging lighter and reusing transportation packaging.
- Reducing water usage by incorporating state-of-the-art wastewater treatment and the reuse of process water from manufacturing and distribution facilities.
- Minimizing energy usage and fleet emissions by employing hybrid trucks and relying on highly efficient, centralized production and distribution systems for products.
- Using green technology — such as roof-top solar panels — at bottling plants.
- Saving energy usage through high efficiency refrigeration technology.
To learn more about how the beverage industry is working to protect the environment, visit http://innovationnaturally.org/.