PR push is on to get Pepsi to use more recycled plastic

ATLANTA: Environmental groups are planning to launch a major PR

offensive to convince PepsiCo to use more recycled plastic in its soft

drink bottles.

A resolution raised at the company's May 2 annual shareholder's meeting

called on Pepsi to use 25% recycled plastics by 2005. It is the first

step in what is likely to be a multi-year campaign, said Lance King, an

issues management consultant to the GrassRoots Recycling Network, an

Atlanta group spearheading the anti-Pepsi campaign.

Coke has been the target of similar efforts over the past four years and

recently agreed to strive for 10% recycled plastics in its bottles by

2005, said King.

While he refused to reveal specific plans for the Pepsi campaign, King

hinted that the approach would resemble that used to persuade Coke.

'We're prepared to engage in a longer term process to get Pepsi

interested,' he said. 'And I think it's reasonable to say we're going to

use tactics against Pepsi that were effective against Coke. We want them

to take responsibility for their waste.'

King said his groups pressured Coke by holding 22 public events around

the US, running ads in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and

Sierra magazine, and encouraging consumers to mail empty bottles back to

the company. The anti-Coke campaign began in 1997 with a public

demonstration at the World of Coke museum in downtown Atlanta.

Larry Jabbonsky, PepsiCo director of PR, said the company plans no

active PR response. Its board advised against approving the recycling

resolution prematurely, as Pepsi is uncertain it could secure enough

recycled plastic to meet a specific content goal. 'The environmental

impact of our products is a story we take very seriously, but we're not

about to make any promises we can't keep,' Jabbonsky said.

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