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Coca Cola make recycling cool and convenient

21 July 2005

Coca Cola make recycling not just cool but convenient

The New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development (the Business Council) believes that Coca Cola’s afternoon concert in Botany Town Centre, featuring New Zealand hip-hop band Fast Crew, is the ideal launch event to get people thinking about what they do with their empty drinks bottles and cans when they are out shopping or at events.

The concert at the shopping mall is aimed at bringing the local community together at a free open air concert and at the same time making it cool to recycle. At the moment every empty beverage container goes to landfill when trashed in public place bins. Coca-Cola has identified a unique and sustainable ‘out and about’ recycling bin solution and sees the Botany Town trial as being just the starting point for a nationwide scheme.

The new style bin will take plastic, aluminium and bottle containers and whilst Coca Cola are funding this first trial, the bins can be hired for advertising by any company.

Rob Fenwick, Chair of the Business Council and guest speaker at the launch event, welcomed this initiative as an ideal example of manufacturers taking responsibility for their products, but cautioned that New Zealand has got to come to its senses over how much waste it produces.

“Recently I attended the World Expo in Nagoya, Japan where the theme this year is about sharing nature’s wisdom. At an event which attracts about 150,000 people a day, everyday for six months, I did not spot a single piece of litter or rubbish anywhere on the whole Expo site. It was immaculate - a testimony to the producer responsibility among suppliers in Japan, especially amongst food and beverage packagers and the Japanese culture of caring for urban environments which is evident in every Japanese city.

“Earlier this month the Government published its discussion paper into extended producer responsibility which cites examples of industry taking responsibility by redesigning their products, reconsidering packaging and/or developing end-of-life uses which reduce waste, create value instead of just disposal and enhance the bottom line.

“Businesses do play a big role, and it’s great to see Coca Cola taking a lead. When a company does something voluntarily like this it makes other businesses sit up and take notice. Kerbside recycling has demonstrated that New Zealanders want to ‘do the right thing’. The challenge is to encourage people to do the same when they are away from home. These eye catching bins will do just that. And it makes good business sense for brands to help their customers dispose of their waste responsibly.”

“But the real benefit of today’s event is that it sends out a very personal message …. that waste is very uncool.”

The Business Council encourages New Zealand manufacturers, retailers and local councils to support this initiative so that public place recycling becomes available in all key locations and at large indoor or outdoor events. Coca Cola is not alone in demonstrating leadership in extended producer responsibility. Other Business Council members Vodafone and Telecom provide take back facilities for mobiles; Toyota and Honda have designed new hybrid technologies which reduce vehicle emissions and petrol consumption and Holcim is using recovered used oil as a substitute fuel.

Fenwick told the audience: “The Business Council believes that there is a compelling case for New Zealand to join most other civilised countries and have a compulsory waste levy which supports recyclers. The greater the cost of disposal, the easier it is to recycle.’

“Our eco footprint, which measures how much natural resource each of us uses, just to live, compared with people in other countries is the fourth largest in the world. We have to act now. I believe that we have only got about a decade before time runs out for the integrity of New Zealand’s brand. And the decision makers in 2015 who will be running New Zealand’s sustainable, Zero Waste economy then, are today’s teenagers.

We have to start talking to them now, with actions and language they understand. Coca Cola’s concert today starts that dialogue.”


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