Fwd: [zwiaplan] The latest on zero waste from NRC

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Gary Liss

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Sep 18, 2007, 7:27:43 AM9/18/07
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Apologies for Cross-Postings - Please share with interested colleagues.

From: "Mal" <mal.wi...@ntlworld.com>
To: <zwia...@googlegroups.com>
Cc: "Russell Owens" <russel...@environment-agency.gov.uk>, <col...@tynyclwtisa.fsnet.co.uk>
Subject: [zwiaplan] Emailing: Marc Gunther > The latest on zero waste.htm
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2007 10:40:07 +0100

Hey - you can drink Coke again guys - it says so here Coke have adopted a Zero Waste aim.
 
Mal

Wed 5 Sep 2007

The latest on zero waste



Zero waste is one of the most exciting ideas to emerge from the environmental movement, and it won a powerful new supporter yesterday in the Coca-Cola Co., which set a long-term goal of having every bottle it sells in the U.S. recycled or reused. In another bit of welcome news for the zero-waste movement, a new report from NGO's Forest Ethics and the Dogwood Alliance gives high marks to office supply stores Staples and FedExKinkos for using more post-consumer recycled content.

Zero waste means what it says-that we can strive for a world where nothing is thrown away, where anything that's no longer needed becomes feedstock for new stuff. It's not merely about reducing waste; it's about eliminating the very idea of waste. We called it The End of Garbage last spring in FORTUNE.

At a news conference in Washington, Coca-Cola announced that it will help build the world's largest plastic bottle-to-bottle recycling plant in Spartanburg, N.C., at a cost of about $45 million, in conjunction with a big private firm called United Resource Recovery Corp. The plant will open next year; it will produce about 100 million pounds of food-grade recycled PET for reuse each year, the equivalent of making nearly two billion 20-ounce Coke bottles. The company said it will open regional recycling centers as well.
Coke's plastic bottles currently contain about 10% recycled PET. The company has a goal of 30% by 2010. It didn't set a target date for its 100% goal-but merely promising to move in that direction means the company can and will be held accountable.

"Coca Cola has staked a clear leadership position in its approach to sustainable packaging," said Kate Krebs, executive director of the National Recycling Coalition. "I hope other industries will follow."

Coca Cola is also expanding its investment in Recycle Bank, a for-profit company that aims to drive up recycling rates by, in effect, paying people to put more stuff in their recycle bins. Recycle Bank's curbside recycling programs in Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware have driven up recycling rates substantially. Are you surprised? if you reward people for recycling, with discount coupons that can be used at Starbucks or Whole Foods, they'll respond. Recycle Bank plans a national rollout by 2009.

Recycling, as you probably know, saves energy, raw materials and curbs greenhouse gas emissions. But for the economics of recycling to work, we need to drive up both the inputs (more stuff in the recycle bin, less in the trash) and the demand for products made with recycled content.

That's where the office stores come in. They more they promise to stock, promote and sell recycled paper, the more demand that creates; of course, the demand will only be sustained if organizations and individuals buy more recycled paper.

That seems to be happening. Forest Ethics and Dogwood Alliance, in their "report card" on the paper practices of the office supply sector, say that recycled pulp mills enjoyed record-high demand in 2005. They give an A grade to Staples, which has achieved a 30% average of post-consumer recycled content when all product tonnage is included, and says it wants to get to 50%. FedExKinkos also "meets or exceeds ambitious goals" for post-recycled content and gets a B+ grade. Office Max and Corporate Express are the industry laggards, in recycling as well as other environmental metrics.

This kind of progress is driven by activism, and by the willingness of big companies to listen, engage and reform. You can learn more by reading the Forest Ethics and Dogwood Alliance press release or downloading their full report. Coke's announcement can be found here . I'll have more to say about the zero-waste movement in a couple of weeks from the National Recycling Coalition's annual convention in Denver.
Posted by Marc under Sustainability , CSR , Energy , Environment , NGOs , Consumption
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Gary Liss

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Sep 18, 2007, 8:17:38 AM9/18/07
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For more details, see:
http://www.marcgunther.com/
and

Coca-Cola Sets Goal to Recycle or Reuse 100 Percent of Its Plastic Bottles in the U.S.: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance
http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/070905/20070905006109.html?.v=1

Gary Liss

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Sep 18, 2007, 4:36:26 PM9/18/07
to Bill Sheehan, GreenYesL, gaiaL, sustainab...@yahoogroups.com, ZER...@yahoogroups.com
Bill,

Thanks for your input on this.  They were very helpful!  For the record, I only was circulating what was published elsewhere.

I also understand that Coca-Cola did NOT adopt a Zero Waste goal.  Instead, they adopted
a goal to recycle or reuse 100 percent of its plastic bottles in the U.S.  The way Marc Gunther reported that was his view that this was a major step forward towards Zero Waste.  But he was NOT suggesting that Coca-Cola is a Zero Waste company, nor have they adopted that goal.

This is NOT diluting the brand of Zero Waste, just some positive actions and commitments by a major player in the field.  We also clearly need to address the refillables issues with them to ensure that these positive actions do not undercut the higher priority of reuse.

Gary

At 07:03 AM 9/18/2007, Bill Sheehan wrote:
A couple of clarifications on Marc Gunther’s article circulated by Gary Liss that suggest prudence on hawking the Zero Waste brand too cheaply.  Coke is to be congratulated on committing to invest in recycling more of its plastic, but calling that Zero Waste may be premature.
 
Gunther: 
“Zero waste … won a powerful new supporter yesterday in the Coca-Cola Co., which set a long-term goal of having every bottle it sells in the U.S. recycled or reused.”
 
An article in Plastics News (August 31, by Mike Verespej) had a more sober article with some interesting specifics.

Plastics News:  “In 2006 … [Coca-Cola] introduced in the Netherlands a light-weight, recyclable bottle containing 25 percent recycled material that will replace the refillable plastic bottles it previously sold in that market.
Is this Zero Waste?
 
Gunther:  “
Coke’s plastic bottles currently contain about 10% recycled PET.”
Plastics News:  “Coca-Cola Enterprises, which bottles 19 percent of Coca-Cola nonalcoholic beverages worldwide and is its largest bottler, used recycled PET for 3.8 percent of its needs last year.”
 
Gunther:
The plant will open next year; it will produce about 100 million pounds of food-grade recycled PET for reuse each year.
Plastics News:  “In 2006 … almost 4 billion pounds of PET bottles were not recycled.” [U.S., industry wide]
A long ways to go to Zero!
 
And most importantly:
 
Plastics News:  “
Coca-Cola also has invested $2 million” in voluntary recycling programs, which it plans to promote nationally. “Despite the need for more recycled materials, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo Inc. have opposed bottle deposits.” 
Deposits have proven to be effective.  Is it o.k. to declare a Zero Waste goal and then promote a marginal, self-serving strategy?
 
/Bill Sheehan
Product Policy Institute
 
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Dan Knapp

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Sep 18, 2007, 5:09:36 PM9/18/07
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Bill Sheehan's response to the Coke initiative was indeed helpful. His last question:

Is it o.k. to declare a Zero Waste goal and then promote a marginal, self-serving strategy?

applies beyond Coca-Cola to the current situation of Canberra, Australia, the original adopter of the zero-waste goal. There, a government agency calling itself ACT-NoWaste has disrupted and limited recycling businesses while presiding over a massive landfill expansion and roundfiling a 1996 plan to build a zero waste transfer facility on land it bought for the purpose. So far they're still getting away with it, although ZWIA has decided to intervene on behalf of Revolve, one of the affected recycling businesses. Goodonya, ZWIA!

Dan Knapp
Urban Ore, Inc.

On Sep 18, 2007, at 1:36 PM, Gary Liss wrote:

Bill,

Thanks for your input on this. They were very helpful! For the record, I only was circulating what was published elsewhere.

I also understand that Coca-Cola did NOT adopt a Zero Waste goal. Instead, they adopted
a goal to recycle or reuse 100 percent of its plastic bottles in the U.S. The way Marc Gunther reported that was his view that this was a major step forward towards Zero Waste. But he was NOT suggesting that Coca-Cola is a Zero Waste company, nor have they adopted that goal.

This is NOT diluting the brand of Zero Waste, just some positive actions and commitments by a major player in the field. We also clearly need to address the refillables issues with them to ensure that these positive actions do not undercut the higher priority of reuse.

Gary

At 07:03 AM 9/18/2007, Bill Sheehan wrote:
A couple of clarifications on Marc Gunther's article circulated by Gary Liss that suggest prudence on hawking the Zero Waste brand too cheaply. Coke is to be congratulated on committing to invest in recycling more of its plastic, but calling that Zero Waste may be premature.

Gunther: "Zero waste ... won a powerful new supporter yesterday in the Coca-Cola Co., which set a long-term goal of having every bottle it sells in the U.S. recycled or reused."

An article in Plastics News (August 31, by Mike Verespej) had a more sober article with some interesting specifics.

Plastics News: "In 2006 ... [Coca-Cola] introduced in the Netherlands a light-weight, recyclable bottle containing 25 percent recycled material that will replace the refillable plastic bottles it previously sold in that market."

Is this Zero Waste?

Gunther: "
Coke's plastic bottles currently contain about 10% recycled PET."
Plastics News: "Coca-Cola Enterprises, which bottles 19 percent of Coca-Cola nonalcoholic beverages worldwide and is its largest bottler, used recycled PET for 3.8 percent of its needs last year."

Gunther:
"The plant will open next year; it will produce about 100 million pounds of food-grade recycled PET for reuse each year.
Plastics News: "In 2006 ... almost 4 billion pounds of PET bottles were not recycled." [U.S., industry wide]
A long ways to go to Zero!

And most importantly:

Plastics News: "
Coca-Cola also has invested $2 million" in voluntary recycling programs, which it plans to promote nationally. "Despite the need for more recycled materials, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo Inc. have opposed bottle deposits."
Deposits have proven to be effective. Is it o.k. to declare a Zero Waste goal and then promote a marginal, self-serving strategy?

/Bill Sheehan
Product Policy Institute

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