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DISPATCHES FROM INTERBEV 2012, LAS VEGAS

'Don’t just say ‘Please Recycle’!' expert urges US beverage brands

By Ben Bouckley, 06-Nov-2012

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

Recycling expert Sandra Keil from Earth911 insists that brands need to change unhelpful standardized recycling messages on cans, PET, HDPE and glass containers that simply serve to confuse local consumers.

Speaking to Ben Bouckley in this BeverageDaily.com video shot at InterBev 2012 in Las Vegas, Keil, who is VP of government relations and industry affairs at Earth 911 (which compiles information to help consumers recycle locally), draws out the wide variety among local recycling laws in the US.

“You go 50 miles away and the weather is totally different, the same goes for the traffic... that’s why I make these comparisons with recycling, it only matters locally,” Keil says.

“It matters locally what your recycling rules are, it doesn’t matter what ‘recycling’ is in general terms. What matters is how you can recycle locally in your community and in your program.”

‘My message to brands…’

Keil insists that beverage brands cannot provide consumers with a standardized message (such as the instruction to ‘please recycle’ on an aluminum can) when recycling was not standardized.

For instance, in Louisiana it was very hard to recycle aluminum cans, but much easier in neighboring (and similar-sized) state South Carolina.

“My message to brands is ‘help every one of your consumers recycle the product in their hand in their community,” Keil said.

“We [Earth911] help brands understand their product – the materials it’s made from, who can recycle it and where – then we put that information right into their website.

Using the example of a PET bottle, Keil said this information could cover the lid, bottle, paper label. “Every consumer who buys your product can have local recycling information – so instead of saying ‘Please Recycle’, use the same space and direct consumers to, say, Waterbottlerecycling.com.”