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JUNE 2, 1999  6:58 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Grassroots Recycling Network
Bill Sheehan, (706) 613-7121
Lance King, (703) 582-7932
Local Government Concerned About Plastic Waste; Calls for Coca-Cola and Miller Brewing Company to Use Recycled Material
 
SACRAMENTO, CA - June 2 - A growing number of local governments in California and across the nation are calling on consumer product leaders Coca-Cola and Miller Brewing Company to use recycled plastic in beverage containers, the GrassRoots Recycling Network said today.

"Plastic waste is a rapidly growing problem for local government and recyclers, which prompted us to appeal directly to Coke and Miller to use recycled plastic in their beverage containers," GRRN Network Coordinator Bill Sheehan said today.

The GrassRoots Recycling Network is supporting passage by the California State Senate of new legislation requiring food and cosmetic containers to comply with the state's plastic recycling law. Senate Bill 1110, by Sen. Wes Chesbro (D - Arcata), passed the Appropriations Committee last week and is scheduled for a floor vote either today, June 2, or tomorrow, June 3.

"We launched a direct action campaign last year asking consumers to mail empty plastic Coke bottles to Coca-Cola Company Chairman Ivester. It reflected our concern about the lack of manufacturer responsibility in the United States for packaging, at a time when plastic recycling rates are dropping," Sheehan said.

GRRN plans to continue its campaign and outreach to local government, while supporting legislation like SB 1110.

"The California legislation has national implications for holding product manufacturers responsible for plastic packaging waste, which is why the plastics industry is using all its influence to stop passage of this bill," Sheehan said.

Local government authorities in a number of communities have taken up the issue, passing resolutions addressed to either Coke or Miller, GRRN reported today. Neither company is using recycled plastic in its beverage containers, although technology has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allowing them to do so.

Resolutions or letters calling on Coca-Cola to use recycled plastic have been sent by:

California - Alameda County Waste Management Authority - West Hollywood City Council - San Luis Obispo County

Colorado - Boulder County Recycling and Composting Authority

Minnesota - Winona County

Florida - City of Gainesville

When Miller Brewing Company began test marketing its plastic beer bottle toward the end of 1998 in the United States, the GrassRoots Recycling Network and a number of local governments raised concerns about recycling problems associated with the container, as well as the need to use recycled plastic.

Local governments passing resolutions or writing to express concerns to Miller Brewing Company include:

California - Los Angeles City Council - Alameda County Waste Management Authority - City of West Hollywood

Wisconsin - City of Madison

"Plastics are a growing problem for community recycling programs in California and across the nation, due to the high cost of collection, low scrap value for recycled material and relatively few manufacturers using the material in their packaging," Sheehan said.

The GrassRoots Recycling Network is a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Athens, Georgia. Its members and supporters come from recycling businesses, local government, environmental groups and community groups advocating recycling policies. California is where the largest number of GRRN members and supporters are located.

Additional information on GRRN and its projects is available on the internet at: http://www.grrn.org

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