Sat, Jan 26, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Coca-Cola, PepsiCo together tout plastic recycling promises

AFP, DAVOS, Switzerland

The bosses of Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo Inc on Thursday in a rare joint effort promised that “huge progress” would be made by 2030 to reduce plastic waste.

Soft drink archrivals James Quincey and Ramon Laguarta participated in a panel on the plastic economy, a recurring theme at the World Economic Forum in Davos, alongside Dow Chemical Co boss Jim Fitterling and others.

These three companies are part of the new Alliance to End Plastic Waste announced this month by about 30 multinationals.

“We can reduce the amount of plastics in the system, both in our beverages and in our snack businesses,” PepsiCo’s Laguarta said.

“I am quite optimistic by 2030 that we will ... be solving the problem,” he said.

The alliance — also comprised of big energy, petrochemical and plastic manufacturing firms — said it would donate US$1 billion to “minimize and manage plastic waste and promote solutions for used plastics.”

About 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the oceans every year, according to the Earth Day advocacy group.

Activists and green experts are skeptical about the intentions of firms such as Procter & Gamble Co, Chevron Corp and ExxonMobil Corp, and voiced doubt over the effectiveness of the alliance’s clean-up plan.

However, Coca-Cola chief executive officer Quincey said the group’s joint commitment was already showing benefits.

“There are countries where we have already solved the problem,” he said.

The bosses said there was no question of abandoning plastic altogether.

“We must recover the plastic bottles to recycle them and create a circular economy,” Quincey said.

However, pressure to ban plastic is growing. The EU wants to ban certain single-use plastics such as plates, cutlery and drinking straws by the end of 2021.

Experts say that up to 80 percent of all litter in the oceans is made of plastic, much of it from items such as plastic shopping bags or cold-drink bottles used just once.

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