Thursday, 22 April 2021 10:18

FRF Spotlight: Unbottling the Florida Beverage Association's Commitment to Environmental Sustainability

APRIL 22, 2021

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On Earth Day, the Florida Retail Federation Discusses New Retail Recycling Intiatitives for Environmental Sustainability

The recent 'Every Bottle Back' initiative, by the American Beverage Association, aims to reclaim plastic bottles to be repurposed into new bottles.

Tallahassee, FL – In celebration of Earth Day, the Florida Retail Federation (FRF) is highlighting the new initiatives retail is taking in supporting environmental sustainability. 

Is your favorite beverage sitting in the fridge or pantry? Chances are that beverage bottle is made of recycled materials ready to be recycled again.

'Every Bottle Back' is an initiative created by the American Beverage Association in partnership with leading beverage companies including, The Coca-Cola Company, Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo, to reduce the beverage industry's use of new plastic. The program teams up with environmental and sustainability leaders to reclaim used plastic bottles to be remade into new bottles. 

Elizabeth DeWitt, president and CEO of the Florida Beverage Association (FlaBev), spearheads the initiative in Florida. DeWitt works with bottlers and distributors to ensure that Florida retailers are making the effort to maintain and protect the beauty of Florida's landscape and resources. 

"Recycling is all about a change of mind in our industries," said DeWitt. "The more we can partner with the retailers and others in the community to educate people on the benefits of recycling and how they can do it easily, the more success we will have in making a positive impact on the environment."

The beverage industry partnered with recyclers to help to design a bottle specifically made to be recycled and reused with food-grade products. 

But their environmental efforts expand beyond reusable bottles. The Florida Beverage Association's community grant program helps educate communities, statewide, on the value of Florida's natural resources and helps create recycling projects in their own backyard.

The Florida Beverage Association in partnership with the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America has contributed over $170,000 to community organizations throughout Florida.

Last year, DeWitt worked with the University of Florida through the Florida Sea Grant to provide funding to install seabins at marinas to help collect waste and litter found in the water. The seabins will be installed this year as the project was delayed due to COVID-19. They also supported "ReThink Your Waste," an interactive exhibit in Orlando that explores individual's roles in waste diversion through the lens of a circular economy. 

This year, the Florida Beverage Association is working with Orange County Public Schools on the "Recycle Right Campaign" to provide over 200,000 local students with the visual collateral to properly recycle in schools. They are also working with the city of Miami to utilize Keep America Beautiful's "Waste in Place" curriculum in schools through its "Connect Kids and Community" program. This initiative will help to close the gap on recycling knowledge of students and residents in key communities. 

DeWitt says these programs are integral to educating the community by starting with the youngest generations to help create the foundation of accountability. So much so, her sons have already begun taking action.

"I have two small boys, and they tell me if I am not recycling something correctly. They are on my case!"

As Earth Day celebrates its 51st anniversary this year, the beverage retail industry is focused on continuing to drive innovation in environmental sustainability. America's leading beverage companies have introduced new efforts to reduce emissions and increase efficiencies. This includes: 

  • Introducing hybrid-electric commercial trucks to reduce emissions up to 30% per vehicle;
  • Converting over 250 service vehicles to fuel-efficient hybrid cars for a 20% increase in fuel efficiency;
  • Increasing use of alternative fuels; and
  • Monitoring miles per gallon to lower emissions and improve fuel economy.

Retail beverage companies have also focused their efforts on water conversation. U.S. companies reduced their water use by 4.4% per unit of product since 2011.

Florida's retailers are committed to working on improving their operations in the store and behind the scenes in a variety of ways. Environmental-friendly actions include:

  • Selling recycled and sustainable products;
  • Investing in energy efficiency for stores and operations;
  • Supporting grant initiatives to educate communities;
  • Improving supply chain performance; or
  • Implementing recycling infrastructure for the store and consumers; and 
  • Cultivating internal green initiatives and goals.

This Earth Day, as consumers consider shopping with a "green" purpose, remember to support local, Florida stores. When searching for sustainable products, remember to "Find It In Florida." When Floridian shoppers "Find It In Florida," they are not only helping the environment but also working to keep doors open, boost the local economy and support their communities. 

The Florida Beverage Association (FlaBev) is a key trade association that represents the retail industry, including Florida’s non-alcoholic beverage producers, marketers, bottlers and distributors. Florida's beverage companies support 19,000 jobs to Florida families and provide a $13 billion economic impact to the state.

The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year.


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