Episode 35 – Coca-Cola and the Single-Use Mindset

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Once upon a time, Coca-Cola ran one of the world’s most successful reusable bottle systems. Their decentralized network boasted an over 95% return rate, with some glass bottles being used upwards of fifty times before being recycled.

Today, they’re the biggest plastic polluter on the planet. What the hell?

This week Olivia’s telling us the story of Coca-Cola, the rise of the single-use mindset, and how promises to “keep America beautiful” managed to put the blame on individual consumers and governments instead of on the producers of that trash.

Plus, Elise’s cool new project that tackles packaging waste, how Prohibition ruined everything, and what new media is giving us hope.

Follow @Repackagemailers for more packaging waste facts and to learn more about Elise’s Austin mailer reuse program. Plus the cutest little raccoon.


Story: Coca-Cola and the Single-Use Mindset (Olivia)
The Rapid Truck, made by the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company in Pontiac, MI, was the first truck in Knoxville, TN. This photo was taken in 1909. [Photo and Caption from Vintag.es]

Sources
Citizen Coke: An Environmental and Political History of the Coca-Cola Company, Bartow Jerome Elmore
Coca-Cola reveals how much plastic it uses, BBC, March 2019
Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Nestlé named top plastic polluters for third year in a row, The Guardian, December 2020
The Bottle Deposit Debate, Living on Earth, Nov 2019
1894 March 12 Coca-Cola sold in glass bottles for the first time, History.com
Coke: The World’s Worst Plastic Polluter?, Our Changing Climate, August 2020
Is aluminum better than plastic? It’s complicated., The Verge, January 2020
States with bottle deposits, National Conference of State Legislatures

The famous (infamous?) 1971 PSA from Keep America Beautiful that pinned corporate litter problems on individuals (and featured an Italian-American actor as a very stereotypical Native American) — so much to unpack!! :

The Dump

Watch!
Slow Factory’s Landfills As Museums
Loki (we hear the finale uses a clip from Greta Thunberg??)


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Thanks for listening!

Ep. 67 – 2022 Rewind: The Good, The Bad, & The Updates World Is Burning

It’s the end of the year and we’re in a reflective mood! In this episode we take a look back at the climate wins of the year, updates on stories we’ve covered, and share what we’re looking forward to in 2023. Subscribe/follow/press the button to keep up with new episodes every Wednesday! You can also follow us @worldisburnin on Instagram and Twitter, and check out our website worldisburning.com for extended show notes including sources and photos. World Is Burning is hosted by Olivia Hamilton and Elise Nye. Our theme music is by Kaycie Satterfield, and our logo was made by Sonja Katanic. — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/worldisburning/message
  1. Ep. 67 – 2022 Rewind: The Good, The Bad, & The Updates
  2. Ep. 66 – Myths, Part 2: The Overpopulation Myth
  3. Ep. 65 – Myths, Part 1: Monopolies and The Landlord’s Game
  4. Ep. 64 – Halloween – Aliens and Bigfoot
  5. Ep. 63 – Stars and Movie Stars – Asteroids and Sacheen Littlefeather