By Katherine Lugar, president and chief executive officer, American Beverage Association
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we recognize and give thanks to the tireless efforts of our nation’s recycling and sanitation workforce to keep our communities clean, protect our outdoor spaces and support a circular economy. From drivers to plant employees, these dedicated men and woman show up every day to provide the essential services of curbside recycling, maintenance of parks and public spaces and more.
The current state of national emergency is a powerful reminder that we all can do our part to protect a healthy environment - whether staying home or on the job as an essential part of our workforce. Our efforts to build a circular economy shouldn’t stop because of this public health pandemic.
At the American Beverage Association (ABA), the interruption of “normal” daily life hasn’t dimmed our commitment to help build a sustainable future. America’s beverage industry continues to work alongside the sustainability community to conserve resources and further reduce our environmental impact. I am proud to work alongside America’s leading beverage companies and preeminent sustainability leaders who all share in the commitment to strengthen the health of our communities and environment.
Last year, ABA brought together The Coca-Cola Company, Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo with the World Wildlife Fund, The Recycling Partnership and Closed Loop Partners to launch the Every Bottle Back initiative with the goal of improving recycling infrastructure, increasing the collection of our 100% recyclable bottles and reducing our plastic footprint. Through investment and collective action, we’re working to create a circular economy to ensure that all our high-value, 100% recyclable PET bottles are remade into new bottles, and do not end up where they were never intended - in oceans, rivers, beaches or landfills. And that means we are using less new plastic.
Every day, American workers collect nearly a half billion pounds of recyclable materials destined to be remade into new products. Thanks to their hard work, our efforts to reduce the beverage industry’s plastic footprint and protect the environment continues even as we live our lives differently due to COVID-19.
Today, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, I encourage all Americans to take a moment to thank the people who are keeping our neighborhoods, parks and greater outdoors clean – especially now when a daily dose of sunshine and fresh air is more important than ever.
A more circular economy is within reach, and we in the beverage industry are committed to doing our part to get there. Only by supporting each other, and working together, can we ensure that our nation will come out of this better, stronger and more unified.