Saturday, January 3, 2009

Letter to the Coca-Cola Company

Several months ago, I stopped habitually consuming soda, and now drink it only on special occasions. My family, on the other hand, guzzles at least one case of soda each week, usually more. Although I gently encourage moderation or outright quitting, I don't anticipate my family becoming soda-free any time soon. What family members are willing to do right now is switch brands, if a different brand is more eco-friendly and tastes just as good.

One of our concerns is whether the cardboard cases that cans of soda are sold in are made of recycled fiber. All the varieties of soda currently consumed by family members are made by the Coca-Cola company, so I just sent the following inquiry to the Coca-Cola company.

My family currently consumes a lot of beverages made by the Coca-Cola company, but we're tree huggers and have become concerned about the environmental impact of the cardboard cases our cans of soda are packaged in. We've resolved to buy soda only if it comes in cases made of post-consumer recycled fiber. I've looked on cases of the Coke products we drink but don't see any information on recycled content. Could you please let me know whether the cardboard cases you use are made of post-consumer recycled fiber?

If I receive a response, I'll post it here.

By the way, Grist magazine has a good article on the environmental impact of soda, but it doesn't mention the cardboard cases that soda comes in.

Update: I received a response from Coca-Cola. The news isn't good. Here's what a Coca-Cola representative had to say:

Date: Tue, Jan 6, 2009 at 2:02 PM
From: Coca-Cola Support
Reply-To: Coca-Cola Support

Thank you for your recent email message, Mr. Yellowstone. We appreciate this opportunity to respond.

We're pleased to let you know that our cartons do contain at least 15 percent recycled material. Furthermore, these cartons are recyclable.

We hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

Industry and Consumer Affairs
The Coca-Cola Company

I sent this in reply:


Thank you for the information on recycled content in Coca-Cola's cartons. My family was very disappointed to learn that the cartons aren't made of 100% recycled material. The idea of trees being cut down to make cartons for our cans of soda is disturbing to us. As much as we love soda, we've decided to stop buying it until the cartons are made of 100% post-consumer recycled paperboard.

I hope you won't mind if I check back with you from time to time to see if the percentage of recycled material has increased. Everyone in my family is a fan of either Coke or Diet Coke, so we would welcome news of our favorite beverages being packaged in cartons that are less harmful to the planet.

Yours truly,
Cousin Yellowstone

Now, of course, we have to follow through and ration our remaining soda, because I'm not going out and buying more. This is going to be hard, really hard, for at least one family member.

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