retail news in context, analysis with attitude

In the UK, the Retail Gazette reports on how Walmart-owned Asda Group used 90,000 plastic water bottles to repave one of its parking lots.

According to the story, “The bottles, which were turned into tarmac, would have otherwise gone to landfill or incineration … The plastic was ground to tiny pieces and then mixed with asphalt, which sets to form the tarmac.”

The Gazette says that Asda points out that “the use of plastic bottles reduced the amount of virgin petroleum needed in the process – thus reducing the carbon footprint. It added that the initiative could be used in other car parks across its store estate.”
KC's View:
There’s so much discussion of recycling and so many stores collecting plastic … you’d think that more retailers would use this technique to repave their parking lots and point out to their shoppers the direct line between all their environmental efforts and actual results. Most people want to do the right thing, but it helps when they understand the narrative behind their efforts.

Kudos to Asda. Very smart.

I think this stuff is really important. It is worth noting that yesterday, InterContinental Hotels Group, which owns the Holiday Inn and InterContinental hotel brands, announced that it no longer will feature mini bottles of shampoos and toiletries in its rooms, but now will have bulk-sized amenities - the goal being to reduce the use of plastic.

This is no small thing - the company estimates that its more than 5,600 hotels uses an average of 200 million bathroom miniatures every year.

Yikes.

It also was interesting to see the CNN story saying that Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are pulling out of the the Plastics Industry Association, which has lobbied heavily for “states to make plastic bans illegal.” The story says that the two soft drink companies were concerned that participation in the group “could tarnish Coca-Cola and Pepsi's images as companies working to find solutions to plastic pollution.”

According to the story, “The association took positions that ‘were not fully consistent with our commitments and goals,’ Coca-Cola said in a statement last week, noting that it withdrew from the group earlier this year. Pepsi said it had joined the association to learn about innovation as it works to ‘achieve a circular economy for plastics … We do not participate in the policy advocacy work of the association or its subsidiaries, and our membership will conclude at the end of this year,’ Pepsi said.”

Seems to me that when two major soft drink companies say that a plastics association’s positions are inconsistent with theirs, it means that the association sort of has a credibility problem.