Spotlight: Protecting our natural resources for generations to come

Journal Star | Nov 26, 2019
Rob Nash

The city of Peoria serves as an economic hub for central Illinois due largely to the Illinois River. The river is a principal tributary of the Mississippi facilitating trade and shipping and along its banks are some of the richest farmland on earth. So we understand the frustration consumers feel when they see plastic bottles in the Illinois River or in parks or other waterways.

Last month, the American Beverage Association brought together a coalition with the shared goal of preventing bottles from ending up in places they do not belong. Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo, Keurig and Dr Pepper joined the environmental and sustainability leaders World Wildlife Fund, The Recycling Partnership and Closed Loop Partners to launch the Every Bottle Back initiative.

The goal of Every Bottle Back is to decrease the use of new plastic by increasing the collection of plastic bottles so they can be remade into new bottles, reducing our reliance on new plastic and ensuring bottles don’t wind up in places they shouldn’t such as lakes and rivers or wasted in a landfill.

Our goal is to improve community recycling infrastructure and access, measuring and tracking our progress in using less new plastic and increasing consumer awareness surrounding our recyclable plastic bottles.

Under Every Bottle Back, we are doubling down on the beverage industry’s commitments to sustainability and directing the equivalent of $400 million to The Recycling Partnership and Closed Loop Partners. These investments help strengthen community recycling infrastructure by modernizing technology to collect and sort recyclable plastic bottles and providing greater access to recycling.

Consumers also need to know that their efforts to recycle make a difference. That’s why our partners will work neighborhood by neighborhood to help consumers recycle better and provide tools and resources to make it easier.

For this initiative to have an impact, it must demonstrate measurable results to reduce plastic in the environment. That’s why Every Bottle Back is grounded by the World Wildlife Fund’s ReSource: Plastic program, which works with businesses to maximize their efforts to reduce their plastic footprint.

The Illinois Beverage Association is eager to work alongside America’s leading beverage companies and environmental and sustainability partners on this initiative to preserve our environment and its natural resources, such as the Illinois River.

Rob Nash is executive director of the Illinois Beverage Association.