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Beverage Industry Leaders Get Recycling ‘B-‘

Nestlé Waters North America, PepsiCo and the Coca-Cola Company have all received a “B-” letter grade for their recycling efforts in a new report, which criticized the beverage industry’s pace in improving recycling.

“Waste & Opportunity: U.S. Beverage Container Recycling Scorecard and Report” by As You Sow is the shareholder advocacy group’s third review of the beverage industry since 2006.

The report gave Nestlé Waters North America the highest rank out of the major companies. In particular, the firm received the highest score on container recovery for establishing better recovery goals than its peers and having stated tactical strategies for attaining those goals, the report said.

As You Sow said the beverage industry has made slow progress on recycling since the last edition of the report in 2008.

The Coca-Cola Company has historically opposed container deposit systems administered by independent third parties, and continues to do so, according to As You Sow. But the group says that Coke is “neutral” on a voluntary system of deposits administered by associated industries.

Several survey respondents also said that in developing a recycling program, they are most likely to support programs that set recycling fees that are paid by producers or importers, included in the price of the product and administered by industry.

However, brewing companies were largely absent from the survey participants, with Anheuser Busch refusing to participate. As You Grow says this suggests the company’s transparency policies are getting worse. The firm received the second highest score in the report’s 2008 edition.

Correction: As You Sow has informed Environmental Leader of an error in the 2011 report. The advocacy group says Coca-Cola is not “neutral” on container deposit systems administered by independent third parties, as previously reported, but is in fact opposed to such systems.

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