[Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 14, 2000]

Manufacturers, Environmentalists Mull Recycling Alliance
Jeff Nesmith - Cox Washington Bureau

Washington -- Environmentalists and plastics recyclers are asking the Turner Foundation and the U.S. affiliate of Mikhail Gorbachev's Green Cross International to support a campaign to increase the recycling rate of plastic bottles.

Among strategies being discussed is an age-old anathema for the beverage industry: getting more states to enact beverage bottle deposit laws.

''Clearly, there has always been interest in the environmental community in increasing the recycling rates,'' said Pat Franklin, executive director of the nonprofit Container Recycling Institute of Arlington, Va. ''But the fact that manufacturing people are considering supporting it really changes the dynamics.''

Franklin said the talk of an environmental industry recycling alliance ''is not a done deal. It's in the formative stages.''

She said industry interest in the proposed alliance is driven by the failure of existing recycling programs to provide enough recycled polyethylene terephthalate, or ''PET,'' plastic to keep pace with a growing demand for the material.

In addition to Franklin's organization, groups involved in the discussions include:
  • The GrassRoots Recycling Network, an Athens, Ga., environmental group that has been pressuring the Coca-Cola Co. to use more recycled PET in its bottles.
  • Beaulieu of America, a Dalton, Ga., carpet manufacturer that annually converts tons of PET into carpet fibers.
  • Scott Seydel, president of Atlanta-based EvCo Research Inc., a company that has developed numerous products containing recycled PET.
  • The Turner Foundation.
  • Global Green USA, the American affiliate of the international environmental group Gorbachev started.
Nationally, the recycling rate for PET is less than 25 percent, according to the National Association for PET Container Resources.

It is much higher in the 10 states with bottle deposit laws, especially Michigan, which requires a 10-cent deposit on each container.

  Contact Us © Zero Waste USA ©
Archive maintained by Laughter On Water