Coke Pours Bad Business Ethics On Israeli Recycling Laws

It's more than a problem. It's an epidemic. Multi-national companies are sabotaging Israel's modest efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle. Last week we reported on IKEA Israel and the plastic bag fiasco — that Israeli customers will not be charged the 5 cents per bag at IKEA. The latest is that Coca-Cola has asked the Israeli government to suspend the requisite deposit and return service required on all its beverage bottles. According to the Israel Union For Environmental Defence, Coca-Cola is waging a smear campaign attempting to link bottle collection with "criminal elements"; and is asking that Israeli cities expand the voluntary recycling cages on sidewalks instead of improving deposit redemption facilities and accessibility, as required by law. The company claims that most people are not returning the bottles for deposit and that the number of bottles Coca-Cola does get is so limited that it makes it difficult for the company to recycle them in an efficient manner. Truth be told, most Israelis are not keen on recycling or returning bottles even when there is a 25 Ag (5 cent) deposit on them. Return facilities are limited here. Smaller stores will only take the bottles back if they can be sure the goods were originally purchased there; few people in the city own cars or care to venture to the large grocery stores where they can be sure some of their bottles will be returned. Some Israeli cities do have cages sitting on random street corners waiting to be filled with plastic bottles, but most people aren't using them. Moreover, a growing number of low-income earners are turning a small profit by collecting bottles from streets, cages and garbage cans. The JPost reports that in December 2005, 80 percent of all beverages purchased that month were eventually recycled. We think Coca-Cola as an experienced and successful beverage leader in Israel should not whine about the 5 cents tagged to its product, but take a stance and show Israeli society why Coca-Cola bottles should be recycled. Is this too much to ask? ::JPost

(Picture of a recycling cage at night in South Tel Aviv)

(Up close of cage - note the layers of dust from ongoing construction in the south end of the city)

Tags: Israel | Recycling