PepsiCo has just announced that its 7UP soft drink will soon be sold in Canada in 100% recycled plastic bottles. Loblaw President’s Choice water has been sold in 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles since last Fall.
These initiatives are important for two reasons. First, they will help show consumers that products from recycled material can be every bit as safe and functional as products from virgin raw materials. Somewhat surprisingly, many consumers are still confused about this and view recycled products as potentially inferior to products from new materials. This view must be overcome if we are to achieve an objective of making the maximum use of all of the resources that have been extracted from the earth. Maximization of recycling and use of recycled materials is essential if we are to ensure that the world’s growing population is accommodated with any degree of satisfactory lifestyle.
Second, governments and many business leaders need a kick in the pants when it comes to support of recycling industries. Governments are only too ready to support companies that are looking to extract more resources from the earth, especially the oil and gas industry, but usually offer little or no support to industries that seek to make ongoing use of resources that have previously been extracted and processed. In virtually every case (in fact, we are not aware of any case but add the virtually word in case someone comes up with one!), it is economically and environmentally more efficient to recycle materials than to extract new ones from the earth, both renewable and non-renewable materials included. Examples: it is better and cheaper to smelt old computers for their metals than to smelt metal ores obtained from mines; it is better and cheaper to make cardboard from old cardboard than to grow forests and process the trees for cardboard. Hopefully high profile recycling by companies as large as PepsiCo will help awake governments in Canada to the job creation opportunities of recycling and the green economy.