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Five big brands averaged 8% recycled content

A plastic Starbucks cup on a table in store.

Of the 190,00 metric tons of plastic Starbucks used from Oct. 1, 2017 through Sept. 30, 2018, 6% was recycled content. | ansoz/Shutterstock

Post-consumer resin makes up a small percentage of all plastic used by Coca-Cola, Starbucks and others, according to a new report that will be used to track company progress on increasing recycled plastic use.

ReSource: Plastic, a project of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), this week published “Transparent 2020: Mapping corporate action on plastic waste.” The report covers recycled plastic use in recent years by five companies that are principal members of the ReSource: Plastic project: Keurig Dr Pepper, McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks and The Coca-Cola Company.

The project, which launched in 2019, has a goal to reduce plastic waste by eliminating unnecessary material use; shifting from virgin to recycled content or other more sustainable alternatives; and increasing collection, recycling and composting of plastic.

Overall, the report found these major brand owners together used 8% post-consumer resin across their consumer-facing plastic packaging materials, out of a total 4.2 million metric tons of plastic used.

The recent publication provides a “baseline of plastic use” to track corporate action and progress, according to the report.

According to ReSource: Plastic, company material use was as follows:

Keurig Dr Pepper used 208,000 metric tons of plastic in 2018. Of this, 99.7% was virgin content and 0.3% was recycled content.

McDonald’s used 153,000 metric tons of plastic in 2018. Of this, 98% was virgin content, 2% was recycled content and 0.1% was “other biobased content.”

Procter & Gamble used 605,000 metric tons of plastic from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019. Of this, 93% was virgin content and 7% was recycled content.

Starbucks used 190,000 metric tons of plastic from Oct. 1, 2017 through Sept. 30, 2018. Of this, 93% was virgin content, 6% was recycled content and 1% was “other biobased content.”

The Coca-Cola Company used 3 million metric tons of plastic in 2018. Of this, 90% was virgin content, over 8% was recycled content, over 1% was “sustainable biobased content” and less than 1% was “other biobased content.”

The report also includes a variety of details about each company’s current plastic waste priorities and strategies for improving sustainability initiatives. In the report, leaders from the major corporations described the findings as setting a foundation for their work in the coming years.

“The findings of the report underline the importance of the packaging and waste elimination goals we have set for our company and reiterate the importance of collaboration,” said Monique Oxender, chief sustainability officer for Keurig Dr Pepper. “We look forward to the expansion of this promising program and continuing to be an active and collaborative member as the group grows and evolves.”

A version of this story appeared in Plastics Recycling Update on June 10.

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