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Bringing innovative solutions to Michigan’s UP to protect our environment

For many, Earth Month offers an important reminder to reflect on the progress we are making to protect our environment and how much more we can do. Michigan’s non-alcoholic beverage industry believes we can decrease the use of plastic through recycling improvements that increase the amount of plastic bottles collected and remade into new bottles. With more consumers working – and recycling – at home, it’s important that government and companies work together to ensure that every Michigan resident has the tools and information they need to conserve resources and recycle effectively.

At the Michigan Soft Drink Association, we’re proud to be a part of the solution. Our beverage companies are designing 100% recyclable plastic bottles from valuable plastic known as polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, which is made to be remade. We’re working to get back every bottle we produce so we can turn them into new bottles.

In Marquette County, we are collaborating with local officials and The Recycling Partnership to expand access to safe, effective recycling and improved collection infrastructure. This partnership is part of Every Bottle Back, a groundbreaking initiative by the beverage industry to reduce our plastic footprint and create a more circular economy for our 100% recyclable plastic bottles.

This effort by The Coca-Cola Company, Keurig, Dr. Pepper and PepsiCo is leveraging the equivalent of $400 million to modernize recycling infrastructure and help people recycle better in partnership with local leaders and sustainability leaders the World Wildlife Fund, Closed Loop Partners and The Recycling Partnership.

In Marquette County, the beverage industry is investing $68,800 to provide higher-capacity recycling carts to 4,450 households in the Ishpeming, Marquette and Negaunee Townships. The upgrade from small recycling bins allows residents to recycle more materials. We’re also helping to inform families on what can and cannot be recycled by providing free recycling education materials to 66,500 residents in Marquette County.

This program is expected to deliver 317,000 new pounds of recycled PET over 10 years, and in total over 8 million new pounds of all recyclables such as aluminum, glass, steel and paper.

Since the Every Bottle Back initiative was launched by American Beverage in 2019, the beverage industry has committed a total of $10 million for 11 community recycling projects including in Ann Arbor and Kenosha, Wis. The investments will collect an estimated 644 million more pounds of PET that can be used to make new bottles.

The Michigan Soft Drink Association is proud to celebrate Earth Month this April and do our part to keep our plastic bottles out of the environment where they don’t belong so we can enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the Upper Peninsula.

We hope this public-private partnership serves as a model for other parts of Michigan and elsewhere in the country on how we can conserve resources and protect our environment.

Derek Bajema is the president and chief executive officer of the Michigan Soft Drink Association.

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