PepsiCo, Coca-Cola bring juice to recycling

For most of us it's automatic: we know what should go in the recycling without giving it a second thought. Others never got in the habit, and anyway what do you do when there's no recycling bin in sight? Coke and Pepsi, the companies whose packaging is almost always recyclable, have some initiatives underway to make it easier.

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Packaging accounts for 50% of Coca-Cola's carbon footprint. Coke's research on how people recycle found obstacles even in the home. The company sought new ideas and sponsored a challenge with open-source platform OpenIDEO on how to inspire new recycling habits. The 8 winning ideas range from "No Waste Wednesday" to "Recy'Cream Trucks" and include several apps to connect with others through social media. While Coke may help implement some or all of these ideas, they're now in the public realm and other companies or individuals can also run with them.

PepsiCo and The Nature Conservancy announced the Recycle for Nature program in July. PepsiCo's national surveys show 81% of Americans would like to recycle beverage containers at a retail location if bins were available. Only 42% of beverage containers are recycled in the US, perhaps because recycling bins are only available 12% of the time outside the home. Recycle for Nature will expand the availability of recycling bins outside the home, and PepsiCo will also donate to support the Conservancy's Liquid Courage campaign to conserve drinking water sources.

Can these heavy hitters help us improve our recycling rates? Maybe if it's easier and our culture places more value on it, but in the end the decision is literally in your hands.