We’ve come a long way since Earth Day was founded in 1970 by Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson to draw attention to the importance of protecting and preserving natural resources. Today, governments and industry worldwide are partners in making sure the environment is a priority.
Beverage companies have been leading for decades on issues such as conservation, reuse and restoration of our resources.
We have been promoting the revolution in recycling nationwide. Our companies fund improvements to recycling systems in cities and towns and provide grants for recycling bins in public spaces. We now produce 100 percent recyclable aluminum, plastic and glass beverage containers. Even the plastic caps can be recycled. In our own facilities we divert 94 percent of waste from landfills, and our goal is to ensure all facilities waste is reused or recycled.
Our water conservation is among our proudest achievements. Our companies are renowned for having among the most efficient water usage rates in all industry. We’ve reduced water use by 14 percent per unit over five years even as production increased by nearly 20 percent. We fund major watershed restoration projects in the Great Lakes and many rivers such as the Colorado, Brazos, Rio Grande, Verde, Chattahoochee, Suwanee and Mississippi.
Our industry initiated a phase–out of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) equal to taking 15 million cars off the road. At the end of the phase-out, 100 percent of new company-controlled coolers will be HFC-free.
We have the largest fleet of fuel-efficient heavy-duty hybrid commercial vehicles in North America and have improved average fleet miles per gallon by 13 percent since 2010. We have a goal of improving fuel efficiency by another 10 percent at least by the end of the decade.
We are also doing more to reduce our packaging footprint. We’ve saved millions of pounds of raw materials through lightweighting and packaging reduction. We’re innovating still to reduce the materials used in bottles and cans even further.
Earth Day should be a reminder to us all – industry, government and the public – to do what we can to keep our planet viable and our resources plentiful and safe. Check out Innovationnaturally.org to see what the beverage industry has been up to.