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Waste Not Georgia

April 11, 2001
Contact: Lance King
(703) 536-7282 or (706) 613-7121

Coke Shareholders See Growing Support
for Recycling Proposal

ATLANTA, GA (April 11, 2001) -- Coca-Cola promises a moment of refreshment and creates more than 2 million wasted bottles and cans every hour, Coke shareholders and environmentalists said in an Atlanta news conference today. A group of investors is pressing Coca-Cola to adopt a comprehensive recycling strategy at the April 18 shareholders meeting in Wilmington, Delaware.

"We introduced the recycling resolution because wasting billions of empty Coke bottles and cans every year is a national disgrace. I have been impressed by Coca-Cola Chairman Doug Daft's leadership in the past year on a variety of social and environmental concerns. It's time for Coke to become the recycling leader," said Lewis Regenstein, an Atlanta shareholder and co-sponsor of the recycling resolution (Proxy Proposal 5).

The recycling proposals calls for Coca-Cola to meet two specific recycling goals by January 1, 2005: achieving an 80 percent national recycling rate and using 25 percent recycled plastic in making new plastic bottles. Sponsors of the shareholder resolution include: As You Sow Foundation (San Francisco) acting on behalf of the Educational Foundation of America, Walden Asset Management (Boston), Domini Social Investments (New York), Trillium Asset Management (Boston), and Atlanta shareholder Lewis Regenstein.

"Four years ago this week, the GrassRoots Recycling Network launched our campaign here at the World of Coca-Cola. Today, more than 200 organizations, businesses, environmental leaders, student groups and local government officials support the campaign calling on Coke to take responsibility for the growing plastic bottle waste problem," Bill Sheehan, national coordinator of the GrassRoots Recycling Network, said in the news conference at Steve Polk Plaza in downtown Atlanta.

Pouring more than 600 empty cans and bottles into a trash can, Sheehan said that is how many Coke beverage containers are thrown away and wasted every second in the United States. More than 54 million Coke soft drink bottles and cans become litter or get sent to landfills and incinerators every day.

"Coke shareholders with approximately $50 million dollars invested in the company are sending a clear message to the board of directors. Being a good corporate citizen means coming to grips with the growing waste problem," said Bob Woodall, executive director of Waste Not Georgia and a Coke shareholder who resides in Atlanta.

Standing in front of a Wall Street Journal advertisement appealing for shareholder support of Proxy Proposal 5, Sheehan said, "We are determined to find a solution and hope that Cola-Cola will come forward with realistic approaches soon."

Beverage container waste increased more than 50 percent between 1992 and 1999, according to analysis of industry data by the Container Recycling Institute in Arlington, Virginia.

"Coke opposes the recycling resolution, but can't deny the problem. We support proven methods to increase recycling. Refundable deposits are being used in ten states, which achieve an average 80 percent recycling rate. And Coke uses 25 percent recycled plastic in bottles sold in several countries, including Doug Daft's native Australia," said Pat Franklin, a Coke shareholder and executive director of the Container Recycling Institute.

"Coke knows the importance of setting goals for selling products. We see a need for the same kind of ambition and determination in pursuing recycling goals," Regenstein said.

For more information on the shareholder campaign, visit the Internet at:


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