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Coke backs down on bottle deposits

Posted by John / February 7, 2006

Last week I was reservedly happy to see that Quebec Environment Minister Thomas Mulcair had vowed to fight Coca-Cola's plan to back out of a voluntary deposit system on its non-carbonated drinks (you know, like Fruitopia, a.k.a. Kool-Aid for suckers). Coke's excuse was that even without a 5- or 10-cent incentive to return them, Quebecers would be diligent enough to recycle the bottles at home.

Sure they would.

Anyway, Mulcair met with Coke yesterday, reports the CBC, and Coke has reconsidered.

The Atlanta-based company immediately reinstated the refund after a meeting with Quebec government officials, including Mulcair.

Christina Smith, Coke's head of public affairs, says the company wants to work with the government.

Mulcair said even though Quebec law does not mandate the refund on non-carbonated drinks, it provides an incentive to recycle.

"Since consumer habits have evolved we have to adapt our goals and means so that it is easier for them to recycle all bottles, not only beer and soft drinks."

Mulcair said he has not ruled out extending Quebec's law on refunds to include non-carbonated drinks.

The last line seems a bit curious. I mean, what reason is there not to extend the law? We enjoy the crackling sound of cars running over discarded Naya bottles?

What did Mulcair say, anyway? Since when does one of the planet's biggest multinationals back down after a single meeting from a cabinet minister from a piddly province in a insignificant country?

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