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. 37 – Bird Lady and Lady Bird World Is Burning

At the peak of 19th-century hat culture, an ounce of feathers was worth more than an ounce of gold. This extravagant trend, however, was putting once-flourishing bird populations in peril. Enter the bird lady: Harriet Hemenway, a controversial Boston socialite who co-founded the Massachusetts Audubon Society and used posh tea parties to protest the overhunting of birds. Elise recalls Harriet's story and the bird species that didn't make it. Then Olivia tells the story of Lady Bird Johnson, former U.S. First Lady during the Johnson administration, who pushed a forward-thinking environmental agenda through seemingly superficial beautification projects. And she also might have sent the CIA after a beloved outspoken singer… Other topics include organizing among friends, easy access to climate change basics, and anti-car sneakers? 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. — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/worldisburning/message
  1. Ep. 37 – Bird Lady and Lady Bird
  2. Ep. 36 – How to Survive Extreme Heat
  3. Ep. 35 – Coca-Cola and the Single-Use Mindset
  4. Ep. 34 – Haunted by the K-Cup
  5. Ep. 33 – Plastic Bottle Vanilla and CVS Receipts