A clutch of top U.S. beverage brands — including Coca-Cola, Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo — have agreed to put their rivalry to one side in order to collaborate on cutting back on plastic waste across the industry, the firms announced Tuesday.
The Every Bottle Back initiative will see the three giants of the U.S. soda sector invest in collection schemes for plastic bottles so they can be recycled and reused, in the process supporting the development of a circular plastics economy.
Spearheaded by the American Beverage Association (ABA), the initiatives will see the firms improve the quality and availability of recycled plastic in key U.S. regions by directing the equivalent of $400 million to The Recycling Partnership and Closed Partners. The financing will come via a new $100 million industry fund that will be matched three-to-one by other grants and investors, ABA said.
The investments then will be used to improve sorting, processing and collection capacity in areas with the biggest infrastructure gaps, it explained.
The firms also have pledged to use their marketing clout to launch a public awareness campaign pushing the importance of recyled plastic. Community outreach and partner engagement programs will reinforce the importance of getting bottles to recycling points so they can be remade and reused, ABA said.
Moreover, the firms plan to measure industry progress in reducing the use of virgin plastic in the United States, collaborating with ReSource: Plastic, WWF’s corporate activation hub, which has an accounting methodology to help companies turn plastic waste commitments into measurable progress.
“Our industry recognizes the serious need to reduce new plastic in our environment, and we want to do our part to lead with innovative solutions,” said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the ABA. “Every Bottle Back will ensure that our plastic bottles are recovered after use and remade into new bottles, so we can reduce the amount of new plastic used to bring our beverages to market.”
“Reaching our goal of ‘No Plastic in Nature’ by 2030 will happen only if business, governments and the NGO community work together to fix a broken plastic material system,” added Sheila Bonini, senior vice president of private sector engagement at WWF.
A report published earlier this year found that plastic bottles had overtaken plastic bags as the most prevalent form of plastic pollution in European waterways.