November 10, 1998
Contacts: Bill Sheehan (706) 613-7121 or
Lance King (703) 241-4927


Borrowing the America Recycles Day Theme, Protesters DeliverGiant "Buy Recycled" Pledge Form to Coke Headquarters

ATLANTA, GA - Groups challenging Coca-Cola Chairman Douglas Ivester to take back billions of plastic Coke bottles each year to make new bottles delivered a giant "buy recycled" pledge form to the company's worldwide headquarters today (at 10:30 AM EST).

"Hundreds of thousands of Americans are signing a pledge this week to purchase recycled products, to celebrate America Recycles Day on November 15. Most consumers are surprised to learn that the world's soft drink industry leader, Coca-Cola, refuses to use recycled plastic to make soda bottles in the United States," GrassRoots Recycling Network spokesman Bill Sheehan said at a noon-time rally in Athens, Georgia.

"We are asking consumers to mail back empty plastic soda bottles to Coke Chairman Ivester as a protest, with the simple message 'take it back and use it again' printed on a mailing label," Dr. Sheehan, GRRN network coordinator, said on behalf of 81 organizations and leaders in 26 states supporting the recently launched campaign.

"Georgia Sierra Club representative Bob Woodall delivered a giant "buy recycled" pledge form (3 and feet by 7 feet) to Ivester at Coke's world headquarters in Atlanta, following a 10:30 AM news conference outside the company's main gate.

"Coca-Cola sells 20 million sodas every day in the United States in plastic bottles, without using a single ounce of recycled plastic. It is time for Coke to take responsibility for the billions of plastic bottles wasted every year. As Coke uses more and more plastic, it is undermining plastics recycling," Bob Woodall said.

"A voluntary pledge to use recycled plastic is the first step toward reducing plastic soda bottle waste in the United States. Plastic soda bottle recycling rates have dropped for 3 years in a row, due in large part to Coke's abandoning the use of recycled plastic and increasing use of single use plastic bottles," Woodall said.

"Plastic soft drink bottle recycling rates peaked at 50 percent in 1994 and dropped to 36 percent in 1997. While certain industries incorporate used soda bottle plastic into a host of products, 64 percent of all used soda bottles became waste or litter last year -- largely because Coke refuses to "close the loop" by taking them back and using them again.

"Our campaign is about manufacturing responsibility. Recycling works through a partnership. More than 100 million Americans do their part every day by sorting bottles, cans, paper and other materials. Communities are doing their part through curbside and drop-off programs. But companies like Coke have backed away from commitments to use recycled materials," Rick Best, chairman of the GRRN Steering Committee and policy director for the Sacramento-based Californians Against Waste (CAW) said today in a prepared statement. CAW has more than 21,000 members in California and is planning a protest event later this week in Sacramento.

"Coke and Pepsi announced plans in December 1990 to start using 25 percent recycled plastic in new soda bottles. Both companies chose a costly and inefficient process in the United States. Cost-effective technologies developed over the last several years and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"We are targeting Coke because it is the industry leader with 44 percent of the U.S. market. Coke uses recycled plastic in soda bottles in a number of other countries. But the soft drink industry leader refuses to take responsibility for its waste," Best said.

"Plastic Coke bottles generated 400 million pounds of waste in 1997. Disposing of these plastic Coke bottles costs taxpayers and local governments millions of dollars annually for litter cleanup, landfill disposal and incineration.

"From an environmental perspective, the waste of billions of plastic Coke bottles means that more toxic waste is created to make new plastic, and non- renewable resources are wasted," Georgia Sierra Club's Bob Woodall said in Atlanta.

"Coke so far refuses to address our concerns, which is why the national protest is being waged. Events are being conducted across the nation this week as part of the 2nd America Recycles Day on November 15," Best said.

"Protest events are planned from November 10 to November 15 in: Athens and Atlanta, Georgia; Boulder, Colorado; New Orleans, Louisiana; Sacramento, California; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Arlington, Virginia; Bloomington, Illinois; San Francisco, California; Andover, Massachusetts; and, Eugene, Oregon. A complete list of dates, times, locations, and local contacts is available to news media upon request. ###

 COKE - TAKE IT BACK! Campaign Endorsements as of November 9, 199881 Organizations and Leaders in 26 States and the District of Columbia

State Organization/Leader City Contact

CA Berkeley Ecology Center Berkeley Cathy Hutton
CA California Resource Recovery Association Sacramento Anne Schneider
CA Californians Against Waste Sacramento Rick Best
CA Earth Island Institute San Francisco Dave Phillips
CA Ecology Action, Inc. Santa Cruz Mahlon Aldridge
CA Garbage Reincarnation Santa Rosa Henry Kaku
CA Global Waste Recycling West Covina Judi Gregory
CA J. Edwards & Associates, Inc. Los Angeles Joan Edwards
CA Richard Anthony Associates San Diego Rick Anthony
CA Sierra Club California Waste Committee * La Jolla Jeanne Davies
CA Total Recycling Association Oakland Arthur Boone
CA University California San Diego Recycling* San Diego Krista Henkels
CA Urban Ore, Inc. Richmond Dan Knapp
CA Zero Waste Institute Watsonville Steve Suess
CO Boulder County Recycling & Composting* Boulder Jeff Callahan
CO Colorado Public Interest Research Group Denver Rich McClintock
CO Eco-Cycle, Inc. Boulder Eric Lombardi
CO Global Response Boulder
CO Recycle The Park Park County Melanie Trent
CO Student Environmental Action Coalition Boulder
DC Friends of the Earth Washington Sarah Newport
DC Institute for Local Self-Reliance Washington Neil Seldman
DC Materials Efficiency Project Washington John Young
FL Sierra Club Florida Suwanee-St. Johns Group Gainesville Dwight Adams
GA Action for a Clean Environment Alto Adele Kushner
GA Alternatives in Action! Nicholson Ginger Dollar
GA Atlanta Bicycle Campaign Atlanta John Walsh
GA Communtiy Recycling, Inc. Atlanta John Fyfe
GA Friends of Georgia Dawsonville John Geiger
GA Georgia Container Recycling Network Atlanta Stacy Fenn
GA Georgia Rural-Urban Summit Decatur Danny Levitas
GA Georgians For a Bottle Bill Atlanta Bob Woodall
GA Glynn Environmental Coalition St. Simons Is. Gary Drury
GA GrassRoots Recycling Network Athens Bill Sheehan
GA Sierra Club Georgia Chapter Dahlonega Larry Winslett
GA Students for Environmental Awareness Athens Tara Harned
GA USPIRG Atlanta Robert Pregulman
IA Spectrum Recycling Decorah Heidi Swets
IL Chicago Recycling Coalition* Chicago Mehrdad Azemun
IL Greenpeace U.S. Toxics Campaign Chicago Charlie Cray
IL Student Environmental Action Coalition Bloomington Eric Huddleston
IL  Environmental Law Society, U. of Chicago Law School  Dan Johnson-Weinberger
LA St. John Citizens for Environmental Justice LaPlace Shay Clark
LA Tulane University Green Club New Orleans Alicia Lyttle
MA Andover Recycling Committee Andover Anne Wein
MA Clean Water Alliance of Massachusetts Boston Lee Ketelson
MA Recycling Initiative Campaign Boston Vivien Watts
MD Community Resources Baltimore Dennis Livingston
MD Infinity Recycling, Inc. Chestertown R. Ford Schumann, Jr.
MI Flowerfield Enterprises Kalamazoo Mary Appelhof
MN Recycling Program Coordinator * Winona Anne Morse
MT Native Forest Network Missoula Jake Kreilick
NC Anson County CACTUS Wadesboro Denise Lee
NC Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League Glendale Springs Janet &Lou Zeller
NC KirkWorks Durham David Kirkpatrick
NC Rural Recycling Institute Burlington Jack Martin
NJ Monmouth Co. Planning Board -SW/Recycling * Freehold Marty Reisinger
NJ Variety Drug Garfield John Gunia
NM New Mexico Public Interest Research Group Albuquerque Jeanne Bassett
NY Marjorie J. Clarke New York Marjorie Clarke
NY NY Public Interest Research Group Albany Judith Enck
NY Trinidad and Tobago International Brooklyn Horace Morancie
NY Waste Not Canton Paul & Ellen Connett
OR BRING Recycling Eugene Sarah Grimm
OR Campus Recycling* Eugene Karyn Kaplan
OR Steve Apotheker Portland Steve Apotheker
PA Clean Air Council Philadelphia Britta Ipri
PA Creative Artists' Resource Project Philadelphia C. David Hall-Cotrill
RI Clean Water Action of Rhode Island Providence Aimee Tavares
SC Dianne Beasley Belton Dianne Beasley
TN  BURNT  Nashville  Bruce Wood
TN Foundation for Global Sustainability Knoxville Samantha Pearson
TN Sierra Club Tennessee* Rockwood Mary Lynn Dobson
TX Green Guy San Marcos Andrew Schroyer
VA Container Recycling Institute Arlington Pat Franklin
VA Livewell Environmental Designs & Resources Arlington Lance King
VA Sierra Club Virginia Chapter Fairfax Roger Diedrich
WA Full Circle Environmental, Inc. Seattle David Stitzhal
WA Sound Resource Management Seattle Jeffrey Morris
WI City of Madison Recycling* Madison George Dreckmann
WI Sierra Club Wisconsin River Country Group Edgar Richard Wentzel

* organization for indentification purposes only

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