Recycling And Waste-Reduction: US Food And Beverage Companies Come Up 'Significantly Short'

Maria Gallucci
International Business Times
January 29, 2015
Sit down at a Starbucks coffee shop, and chances are your tall nonfat latte will come in a disposable paper cup, not a reusable mug. Order a salad at McDonald’s, and your leafy greens will likely arrive in a nonrecyclable black plastic container. Despite years of well-touted sustainability efforts, U.S. fast-food chains continue to send millions of pounds of packaging straight to the landfill -- not recycling plants, a new report by major environmental groups found.
Beverage companies and grocery stores are similarly failing to reduce their garbage flows. In fact, they may be exacerbating the problem by packaging more kids’ drinks and snacks in flexible plastic pouches, which can’t be recycled. Among all plastic packaging, only 14 percent is recycled in the United States, leading to significant pollution in oceans and waterways and resulting in an annual loss of $11.4 billion in potential recycling revenue, As You Sow, a shareholder advocacy organization, and the Natural Resource Defense Council, said Thursday.