Pepsi Take it Back Campaign
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GRRN's Response

Statement by GrassRoots Recycling Network
November 2, 2001

Pepsi Eliminates Recycled Plastic
While Coke Makes Small Steps Forward

Until mid-October 2001, Gatorade was the primary user of recycled plastic in plastic drink bottles. For 8 years, Gatorade used post-consumer plastic in most of its bottles.
In August, Gatorade's parent company, Quaker Oats, was bought out by PepsiCo. Then in mid-October Pepsi-owned Gatorade told its bottle supplier to stop using recycled plastic in the middle layer of the three-layer bottles. Pepsi officials said that using recycled plastic "brought no value" to the company, according to a report published in Plastics Recycling Update.

One theory is that now that Pepsi owns Gatorade they don't want consumers asking, "Why aren't plastic Pepsi bottles also made with recycled plastic?" (which Pepsi promised in 1990).

Last week, the GrassRoots Recycling Network (GRRN) unveiled a 25-foot inflatable Pepsi bottle in Washington DC next to the Washington Monument at a national student conference. A sign on the giant bottle reads: "Demand Pepsi Recycle Now! 80% Recycling, 25% R-Plastic" (see this image.)

In response to pressure from GRRN and the public, Pepsi is beginning to backtrack on its earlier decision to eliminate recycled content in its new Gatorade line. Now is the time to nail down an order rescinding the original decision. More importantly, now is the time to ask Pepsi why it has done absolutely nothing to at least follow -- if not surpass -- Coca-Cola's public commitment to use 10% recycled content in ALL their bottles, not just their small sports drink line.

As a result of consumer pressure, Coke's CEO made the public commitment at the shareholder meeting last April to use 10% recycled content in all of its bottles by 2005. Last week, a company official claimed that Coke is already using 10% in three-quarters of its bottles, and plans to reach 10% in all of its U.S. and Canadian bottles by early next year.

Coca-Cola has been the focus of the GrassRoots Recycling Network's (GRRN) four-year Take It Back! Campaign that asks the company to use 25% recycled plastic in bottles, and to double the recycling rate for all beverage containers from the current 40% to 80%. Coke has also been engaged in talks to increase the recycling rate, while Pepsi declined to participate.

PepsiCo has made no commitments and has done absolutely nothing to address appalling beverage container waste in the U.S. (114 billion containers wasted last year alone).

Consequently, GRRN will now increase its focus on Pepsi's irresponsible behavior. GRRN acknowledges Coke's progress in using recycled plastic, and will continue to press both companies for action to dramatically increase recycling.


Coke Take it Back Campaign
Looking for the Coke Take-It-Back Action Site? Click here.

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