Some of the biggest consumer brand names are making a bigger push in sustainability.
Early on July 21, Walmart, Target and CVS Health announced they are joining forces in an effort to find a better retail bag, pledging $15 million for a three-year effort called the "Beyond the Bag Initiative."
The goal, they say, is to "reinvent the single-use plastic bag" by finding replacements that are both popular with consumers and more sustainable. The retailers are working with Closed Loop Partners on the program.
"By coming together to tackle the problem, we aim to accelerate the pace of innovation and the commercialization of sustainable solutions," said Kathleen McLaughlin, executive vice president and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. "We hope the Beyond the Bag Initiative will surface affordable, practical solutions that meet the needs of customers and reduce plastic waste."
The group estimates that fewer than 10 percent of the 100 billion bags used in the U.S. each year are recycled.
A few hours later, another group led by the American Beverage Association — a group including Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. — announced its Every Bottle Back initiative was investing nearly $400,000 in Broken Arrow, Okla. The money will allow Broken Arrow to launch a new curbside recycling program and provide 35,000 households with recycling carts and education.
The city has no recycling program now, which means most containers end up in a landfill.
The group estimates it can collect 124 million pounds of recyclable materials during the next 10 years, which should include 5.8 million pounds of PET bottles.
The program in Oklahoma is only a small part of an estimated $100 million investment through Every Bottle Back.