20 February 2013 — Coca-Cola is only too happy to promote its headquarters at North Sydney as an uber green building and give presentations on the energy efficiency it is implementing in its manufacturing supply chain but, when it comes to the environmental savings possible when containers are recycled, the gloves are off.
The company, which dominates the Australian drinks market was to go to the Federal Court on Tuesday to stop the Northern Territory’s recycling scheme – whose only crime is to put a halt to landfill and littering of millions of plastic bottles and aluminium cans.
Coke is being joined by Schweppes Australia and Lion.
Boomerang Alliance convenor Jeff Angel, who has a raft of environmental groups onside, says Coca Cola is now notorious in Australia for being the driving force behind misleading public and political campaigns against the only proven solution for drink container waste, recycling and litter.
“If they win their court case to declare the NT scheme invalid then the Territory will again be landfilling or littering millions of beverage containers as well throwing dozens of people out of a job,” he said.
“An efficient container deposits system with a 10 cent recycle refund can be designed to be totally cost neutral.
“Coca Cola may promise that if they win the court case then drink prices will drop – but if they had the real interests of Territorians at heart then they would run their NT operations far more efficiently and low cost – achieving both no drink price impacts and massive gains in litter reduction and recycling.”
Mr Angel added that some of Coca Cola’s brands, like Mt Franklin water, sell themselves on being healthy alternatives but consumers are now realising that these drinks present a massive environmental problem with up to 85 per cent of Australian seabirds now impacted by the plastics from these and other discarded containers.
NT chief minister Terry Mills says his government is committed to fighting the challenge.
The recycling scheme has been running for just over a year, based on South Australia’s successful recycling scheme, and involves a 10 cent deposit on bottles and cans which is refundable when the container is returned to a designated recycling agent.