U.S. Beverage Container Recycling Scorecard
As You Sow recently conducted its third U.S. Beverage Container Recycling Report, ‘Waste & Opportunity 2011’ showing top U.S. brands leading the pack in Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) mandates to promote U.S. bottle and can recycling improvements. Nestlé Waters North America received the highest score, followed by PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola Company, and Red Bull GMBH, all receiving a grade of ‘B-‘ on the scorecard.
The report is organized into seven sections, including general environmental performance, source reduction, recycled content, recyclability, container recovery, findings, and recommendations. Among the key findings, is the apparent need for a national recycling program, since the current the rate of beverage recycling varies by state and region. According to the study, only 29% of the 224 billion beverage containers sold annually in the U.S. are currently recycled, while the rest are landfilled or incinerated. In Europe and Canada, where EPR laws are in place, far higher levels of containers are recovered. The study also found that set fees paid by producers, included in the price of the product, have successfully led to the higher rate of recycling in Europe.
According to Conrad MacKerron, Senior Director of As You Sow’s Corporate Social Responsibility Program, the major difference since their last study has been the willingness of top brands to proactively participate in EPR action plans. MacKerron says, ’Many beverage and consumer packaged goods companies pay fees in other countries to finance recovery of their packaging. It’s significant that companies are finally acknowledging the need to take responsibility in the U.S. as well.’