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Opinion | Beverage industry invests $50,000 to improve recycling in Mobile

Beverage companies want to get every one of their plastic bottles and aluminum cans back so they are remade as intended.

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Earth Day is when we all try to show our appreciation for the natural beauty that surrounds us in Alabama and vow to protect it. The member companies of the Alabama Beverage Association have a responsibility to preserve our environment, and that is why we are taking actions to reduce waste, improve recycling and keep our state pristine. 

In Mobile, we have partnered with the city to establish a new drop-off recycling site that will greatly expand the amount of recyclable materials that are made into something new. 

Providing Alabama communities greater access to recycling is important to Alabama’s beverage companies, which is why we worked alongside The Recycling Partnership to offer this first of its kind grant in our state with support from American Beverage’s Every Bottle Back initiative. Beverage companies want to get every one of their plastic bottles and aluminum cans back so they are remade as intended, and do not end up in nature or wasted in landfills. Improved recycling infrastructure will help boost Alabama’s recycling rate, conserving resources.

The new facility will include unique commingled compactors, which are state-of-the-art tools able to sort through various recyclables, such as plastics, glass, paper and metal, within a single container. This will streamline the recycling process and increase the quality and quantity of materials recycled.

The addition of this new site will yield measurable results. It will provide greater access to reliable recycling services to the more than 192,000 residents in the area. Over the next 10 years this site is projected to process 10 million pounds of new recyclables including more than half a million pounds of 100 percent recyclable aluminum and PET plastic – the most recyclable and recycled plastic on the market today.

The investment also funds an educational outreach program that helps support people in their desire to recycle better. The program will also showcase the environmental and economic advantages of recycling when a collection system works at its best.

Launched in 2019, the Every Bottle Back initiative is a one-of-a-kind public-private partnership bringing together The Coca-Cola Company, Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo with leading sustainability leaders, The Recycling Partnership and Closed Loop Partners, to increase the amount of bottle and cans that are collected so more can be remade into new ones. Our bottles and cans are carefully designed to be 100 percent recyclable, even the caps. Our plastic bottles are valuable, and they are the solution to preventing plastic pollution because they are designed to be remade again and again.

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Earth Day should be every day for all of us. Alabama’s beverage makers and bottlers are committed to ensuring that valuable bottles don’t end up in the gulf, lakes and rivers or our public spaces. Through initiatives like Every Bottle Back, we can be a part of the solution to a cleaner, environmentally friendly Yellowhammer State.

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