Beverages come in a variety of shapes and sizes to meet a variety of consumer needs. We think that’s a good thing.
The beverage industry provides choices through a variety of convenient packaging options that consumers enjoy, but packaging is more than just an attractive bottle or can. It protects the integrity of the product, ensures safety and long shelf life, and provides information to consumers.
The beverage industry understands the importance of producing packaging materials in the most efficient way possible. That means using less packaging wherever possible, using recycled materials in our packages and using materials that can be recycled by consumers. We employ these same principles for not only our bottles and cans, but also for the packaging we use to protect, transport and display our beverages.
The Environmental Pledge
American Beverage Association members support five packaging principles consistent with our commitment to environmental stewardship:
- Use recyclable or reusable packaging whenever feasible
- Design packaging for recyclability
- Design packaging that requires less material to conserve natural resources
- Explore ways to incorporate recycled materials into packaging and other products
- Label packaging in a manner that helps educate consumers on proper waste management
Fulfilling the Pledge
The beverage industry is constantly innovating and improving its packaging to maintain its effectiveness, while reducing its overall environmental footprint. To that end, our work on lightweighting containers has paid off. For our carbonated beverage bottles and cans, for example, the industry used 46 percent less packaging in 2006 than in 1990 — despite the fact that sales of these beverages increased by 24 percent in that same timeframe.
We want to continue this kind of dramatic progress in packaging design, while preserving the features of safety and recyclability. Today, beverage bottles and cans are not only widely recognized as recyclable, but are among the most recycled consumer product packages.
The beverage industry actively supports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s goals for increasing recycling and reducing waste in the United States. Ultimately, these goals should be realistic and achievable, but should also challenge business, consumers and government to be proactive in their recycling efforts.