23 June 2009 18:23 [Source: ICIS news]
(Recasts with conference details)
CHICAGO (ICIS news)--Coca-Cola, the world's largest consumer of bottle-grade polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic, is against mandatory bottle deposits, preferring instead a market-based approach with incentives for producers and users, a company director said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the PET Strategies Plus conference, consumer packaging director Scott Summerville said government mandates on bottle deposits ultimately function to boost federal income and do not adequately contribute to the overall sustainability of plastic packaging.
While mandatory deposits and bottle bills do return high percentages of reclaimed PET, Summerville said “trace the money on federal deposits and see where that ends up.”
Instead, he says, Coca-Cola backs industry initiatives like that of RecycleBank, which offers incentives to participants at each stage of the packaging life cycle, helping drive the perception of it as cyclical, not linear.
The RecycleBank plan works by reimbursing households with cash or points based on the weight of kerbside recycling bins, while municipalities benefit by diverting waste and paying lower taxes on landfill usage.
“Consumers like it because they are rewarded for every pound of material they recycle,” he said. "Municipalities' gain is purely in the savings.”
Plastic processors like Coca-Cola's new joint venture plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina then have an established, free or low-cost feedstock stream that can be recycled back into bottles, Summerville said.
By excluding government interference and engaging product makers, users and recyclers, a more sustainable resource management system is possible, he added.
The PET Strategies Plus conference was held at McCormick Place in Chicago, where it was co-located with NPE 2009.
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