Saturday, August 11, 2012


Food industry is considered one of the biggest polluters both solid as well as liquid types and in spite of more and more stringent pollution control measures being promulgated in most countries the problem does not seem to be going away. By far plastics have been blamed as post processing pollutants caused by the consumers after opening and using the contents and if a recent report is to be believed almost 5 million tons of plastic wastes flow into seas and oceans making these water bodies literally toxic to marine creatures supposed to be thriving in this habitat Of course all these "garbage" materials do not originate from food processing but still it is substantial. Beverage industry which manufactures cans sells billions of units of different varieties of drinks, mostly in plastic and glass bottles, metal cans and laminated pouches and boxes, has not bothered to see beyond their factory gates as to what happens to these packaging materials once the contents are consumed by the people. While glass bottlers are recycled for economic reasons, some attempts are being made to recycle plastic bottles also. Billions of cans and bottles which end up in the garbage and public places do not seem to have any "ownership" because the industry from where they originate does not seem to be too much concerned about the nuisance caused by them. But all of a sudden some industry players are claiming that their used containers, cast away so recklessly, should not be used by any one for any purpose. Here is a ring side view of a developing story that pitches world's largest soda maker against an entrepreneur who is trying to use these discarded containers for promoting his home scale soda making gadgets by sending a message that industrial products create so much waste and pollution that can be avoided by making better soda at home..   

"Here, here. Even if, just like in Sodastream's cages, it's not just Coke's bottles and cans that are the problem. You can't just single out Coke for being the problem here, it's an entire culture of disposability. Ultimately it does seem like Coke wants it both ways: Disclaiming responsibility for ownership of cans and bottles when littering is concerned or there is a suggestion, as Lloyd has suggested many-a-time here on TreeHugger, that beverage manufacturers should be legally required to take back their bottles and cans, but then saying they own them, via intellectual property and trademarks, when the same waste product is used against them. Even if the law comes down against Sodastream on this one—and I could see that happening—common sense clearly favors Sodastream, especially as Coke is not being singled out. Sodastream is holding all disposable beverage containers up to the same ridicule here. If Sodastream were saying something positive about all those cans no doubt Coca Cola wouldn't have a problem with it".

The commercial soda manufacturer has taken exception to the use of discarded cans in exhibitions promoting the home soda machine and is threatening to sue him if he does not desist from such practices fearing that it will show commercially available products in bad light. It may be a logical action considering that use of containers in such exhibitions can adversely affect the reputation of the brand assuming that the promotors criticize the products directly for its quality or healthiness. However in this case all that has been done is sending a message that commercial bottling in general produces enormous wastes and pollutants. It will be interesting to watch further development in this evolving battle between the two adversaries which can rightly be called a "David Vs Goliath" war! One is tempted to ask whether if beverage manufacturers claim ownership of used containers scattered all over the world, will they also take up the responsibility for their safe disposal without harming Mother Nature?  It is morally reprehensible for any one to claim ownership of public garbage but shirk the responsibility to clean it up! Dont they know that playing the "dog in the manger" game does not pay or the "having the cake as well as eat it" attitude cannot work always!


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