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Beverage companies plan to reduce plastic waste

PepsiCo is among the beverages companies looking to repurpose used soda bottles into new ones to curb plastic waste.
PepsiCo is among the beverages companies looking to repurpose used soda bottles into new ones to curb plastic waste.(David McNew / Getty Images)

John Racanelli’s commentary (“National Aquarium: We can end plastic pollution in our lifetime,” Nov. 12) makes strong points about plastic waste and its impact on the environment.

As Maryland local beverage companies, we are frustrated when we see our bottles scattered on the roadsides or floating in waterways where they do not belong. We are committed to a better environment by increasing recycling and reducing litter, and our commitment is real.

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The American Beverage Association last week joined environmental and sustainability leaders — World Wildlife Fund, The Recycling Partnership and Closed Loop Partners — to launch the initiative, “Every Bottle Back.”

The goal is simple: decrease the use of new plastic by increasing the collection of plastic bottles so they can be remade into new bottles. This means reducing the need for new plastic and fewer bottles that could end up as litter in harbors, oceans and rivers.

We will achieve this goal by improving community recycling, measuring and tracking our progress in using less new plastic and increasing consumer awareness surrounding our recyclable bottles.

Under “Every Bottle Back,” we are doubling down on the beverage industry’s long-standing commitments to sustainability and directing the equivalent of $400 million to The Recycling Partnership and Closed Loop Fund. A new $100 million industry fund will be matched three-to-one by grants and investors. These investments will go toward strengthening recycling infrastructure, modernizing technology, boosting collection rates and providing greater access to recycling collection at home.

As part of the initiative, The Coca-Cola Company, Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo will place uniform labels on packages to inform consumers that our plastic bottles are 100% recyclable, and when we get them back can be remade into new bottles.

For this initiative to have an impact, it must demonstrate measurable results. That’s why “Every Bottle Back” is grounded by the World Wildlife Fund’s ReSource: Plastic program, which works with businesses to accurately measure and maximize efforts to reduce plastic in the environment. The ReSource: Plastic program will ensure the program is making a real difference to protect the environment.

The Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Beverage Association is eager to work alongside America’s leading beverage companies and its key environmental and sustainability partners on this initiative. It is an important step towards the creation of a truly circular economy and ensuring our plastic bottles end up where they belong — back on the shelf.

Ellen Valentino

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The writer is executive director of the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Beverage Association.

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