‘Just for the waste of it!’

Press release - 18 February, 2013
Greenpeace tells Coca-Cola to stop trashing Australia

Sydney, Monday 18th February 2013: This morning at Coca Cola Amatil’s Sydney head office, Greenpeace activists suspended a giant image of an albatross that had starved to death because its stomach was full of plastic waste, bearing the legend ‘brought to you by Coca Cola.’ 



The action comes on the eve of the beverage giant taking the Northern Territory Government to the Federal Court in Sydney to try to force them to shut down a proven and effective 'cash for containers' recycling scheme that is supported by 80% of Australians. [1] 



“For Coca Cola to take a government to court over a great new recycling system that is overwhelmingly supported by Australians shows extraordinary corporate arrogance,” said Greenpeace Campaigner Reece Turner. “Each year Australians consume around 14 billion drink containers[2] and less than half of these are recycled[3]. This means more than 7 billion cans and bottles go into landfill and much ends up polluting our parks, beaches and oceans.”



Clean Up Australia estimates that 45% of the rubbish collected every Clean Up Australia Day is beverage industry-related.  The impact of unnecessary waste is particularly devastating for Australian marine birds. It has been estimated that up to 85%[4] are affected by plastic, either becoming entangled, or mistaking it for food. Many of the birds die as a result, literally starving on a full stomach.



“For years Coca Cola has being lobbying and bullying governments[5] who have considered adopting South Australia’s successful recycling scheme. But this court action is a new low. It’s time for State and Federal politicians to say ‘no’ to Coke’s bully-boy tactics and side with the community and the environment,” said Turner.



Cash for containers - also known as a container deposit scheme - is a simple solution. In South Australia and the NT, a 10 cent deposit gives people an incentive for returning containers for recycling. As easy as purchasing the drink, a 10 cent refund is included in the purchase price and returned when the container is brought back for recycling. There’s no extra cost for the consumer or the bottler and a national scheme would lead to thousands of new jobs in the recycling sector.



In South Australia, 81% of bottles are recycled, around twice the rate of other states. The recycling industry supports 11,000 jobs in that State. According to Clean Up Australia, the community service sector would earn around $70 million a year to re-invest into local communities if the scheme was adopted nationally. 

“It’s time for Coke to can it and clean up after themselves,” said Turner.


For more information: James Lorenz, Greenpeace Communications Manager, 0400 376 021
 



[1] A Newspoll survey from July 2012 revealed that 80% of respondents were in favour of a national recycling refund system along the lines of South Australia.

[2] Calculated from the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Standing Council on Environment and Water (SCEW), www.scew.gov.au/strategic-priorities/packaging-impacts.html, pg 3.

[3] The national recycling rate for beverage containers is 47%, Hyder Consulting, Australian beverage packaging consumption, recovery and recycling quantification study, September 2008

[4] See comment from Dr Jennifer Lavers at  http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2012/07/09/3540635.htm

[5] Background Briefing has interviewed West Australian MPs who allege the beverage industry, led by Coca Cola, lobbied against a system in WA. See: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/money-for-empties/3588236#transcript

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