How to make your next beverage choice eco-friendly

(BPT) - Buying products that are eco-friendly and made sustainably is not a new consumer trend, but it is on the rise.

As consumers worldwide increasingly embrace social causes, they are choosing products and brands that align with their values, especially eco-related ones, reports one 2020 IBM study. Nearly eight in 10 consumers place a high importance on sustainability, 57% are willing to change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact and more than 70% say they'll pay more to buy brands that are sustainable and environmentally responsible.

'With sustainability front and center, consumers do more than just check the list of ingredients on a label. They want details about sourcing, how products are made or processed, as well as how they are delivered,' the study reports.

Due to their popularity, bottled beverages are among the greatest opportunities for eco-friendly advancement. Millions of consumers worldwide consume a variety of beverages at home and on-the-go each day. Here are three simple ways consumers can make their next sip truly count for our planet.

Purchase beverages in plastic bottles made with recycled content. Be aware of how the bottles used for your favorite drinks are made and buy from companies that are proactively reducing their use of virgin plastic to address the world's plastic waste problem.

Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages (CCSWB), a company of Arca Continental, manufactures, markets and distributes beverages of The Coca-Cola Company across Texas and parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arkansas. CCSWB is leading the way nationally in such efforts by doubling its use of recycled content across its entire plastic packaging portfolio, significantly reducing the company's use of virgin plastic. By the end of 2021, every plastic bottle CCSWB produces will contain 50 percent recycled content, making them the first bottler in the U.S. to use recycled plastic (rPET) in its entire plastic packaging portfolio. In fact, CCSWB is hitting Coca-Cola's World Without Waste goal nine years ahead of schedule with this rPET packaging model, which reduces energy, better controls greenhouse gas emissions and helps reduce the nearly 27 million tons of plastic waste that ends up in landfills each year.

'Demand for using recycled content for packaging is only going to rise in the future - particularly for food and beverage brands - as companies realize it is the most responsible and smartest way to conduct business,' explains Debbie Moody, CCSWB's vice president of public affairs, communications and sustainability. 'We are proud to be on the leading front of this sustainable packaging method, and we hope to continue to set the pace of our nation's beverage industry regarding sustainable practices.'

Recycle your own beverage bottles. Play your part in the 'circle of life' of plastic by sorting them and placing them at curbside or transferring them to local recycling centers. Check the bottle for clear labeling to ensure it is 100% recyclable - including the cap. Beverage companies like CCSWB are committed to making old bottles into new ones by collecting the bottles you recycle. American Beverage's Every Bottle Back initiative has been a motivator for companies to literally 'get every bottle back' from consumers, spurring innovation of products and improvement of local recycling infrastructure that helps keep plastic bottles out of our oceans, rivers, beaches and landfills. Your small act of recycling can make a difference because the beverage industry is united in action to make the lifecycle of its plastic circular.

Find companies that give back. From shoe companies to coat retailers and exercise equipment manufacturers, many brands are proactive in giving back to their communities. This can be through their philanthropic giving, as well as their sustainability practices that are encouraging change by empowering others to be eco-minded. Beverage companies do this too. For instance, CCSWB is encouraging recycling in the areas it services by providing $100,000 in grants to community recycling organizations in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Conducting a quick online search to learn about the companies who make your favorite items could help you determine a buying choice that actually gives back.

Working together, consumers and companies can make a difference in the future of our environment by buying and producing products that are on the side of sustainability. Next time you reach for your favorite bottled refreshment, consider whether that business is going about business in sustainable and eco-friendly ways. Because every bottle counts.

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