Press release – 6 March, 2013Sydney, 07 March 2013: Following Coke’s scandalous court victory against recycling this week, Greenpeace has launched a crowd-funded graphic advertising campaign in Fairfax papers showing what Coke’s bullying means for the environment.The full-page ads in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald were entirely funded by an unprecedented flood of individual donations. In just over two weeks, over 50,000 people have already signed up to the campaign calling on politicians to implement a national ‘Cash for Containers’ scheme.
Depicted in the ad is a Flesh-footed Shearwater from pristine Lord Howe Island, which starved on a full stomach – full of plastic waste it had mistaken for food.[1] Scientists say that two-thirds of seabirds are affected by plastic trash which pollutes our waterways, rivers and end up in our oceans.[2] Other species known to be impacted by plastic pollution in our oceans include turtles, whales, seals and fish. One of the biggest culprits is creating this plastic pollution is the beverage industry.
Coke is currently trashing a popular and proven 10 cent recycling refund scheme and is the main blocker standing in the way of a national scheme. ‘Cash for containers’ has run successfully for 30 years in South Australia, where recycling rates are almost double those across the rest of the country.
Coca Cola Amatil has for years sought to undermine this proven system, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on misleading advertising[3] and reportedly threatening to campaign against MPs who support the policy.[4]
“The spotlight is now on the State Premiers, especially Barry O’Farrell and Ted Baillieu, to stand up to Coke’s relentless bullying and take action to protect the environment from Coke’s blatant corporate self-interest,” said Greenpeace Campaigner Reece Turner.
“With only 5 weeks until Environment Ministers meet on 11 April to decide on a national roll out of ‘Cash for Containers’, these Premiers must decide whether they side with Coke or the community.”
Each year Australian’s consume around 14 billion drink containers[5], less than half of which are recycled[6]. ‘Cash for Containers’, which is currently operating in SA, is the only globally proven recycling scheme.
View the ads
More information:
James Lorenz, Greenpeace Communications Manager, 0400 376 021 or
[1] The photo was taken by Dr Jennifer Lavers, a research fellow with Monash University specializing in plastics pollution and wildlife toxicology who has undertaken studies for 5 years on the Lord Howe Island. Her profile and published papers are available at:
[2] ‘Rising plastic menace choking sealife’, ABC Science, July 2012
quoting Dr Jennifer Lavers, Institute for Marine and Antarctic studies at the University of Tasmania
[3] Coca Cola Amatil admits that it spent ‘a couple of hundred thousand dollars’ in the 2008 Northern Territory to run a campaign against those advocating for a cash for container scheme: Background Briefing, ‘Money For Empties’, 11 September 2011, transcript at
[4] ‘Can new laws or else, said soft drink giant: Govt’, NT News, February 23, 2011,
[5] Figures are calculated from the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Standing Council on Environment and Water (SCEW),
, pg 3. SCEW sites 19.9Billion rigid containers consumed p.a. taking into account additional products to drinks including shampoo and dishwashing liquids etc, which are not targeted by a CDS. 14 billion is an estimation which excludes non beverage containers from this figure.
[6] Hyder Consulting, Australian beverage packaging consumption, recovery and recycling quantification study, September 2008