by GrassRoots Recycling Network
November 2, 2001
Eliminates Recycled Plastic
While Coke Makes Small Steps Forward
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
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
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
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.