Following Coke’s scandalous court victory against recycling this week, Greenpeace has launched a crowd-funded graphic advertising campaign in Fairfax papers showing what Coke’s bullying means for the environment.
The full-page ads in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald were entirely funded by an unprecedented flood of individual donations. In just over two weeks, over 50,000 people have already signed up to the campaign calling on politicians to implement a national ‘Cash for Containers’ scheme.
Depicted in the ad is a Flesh-footed Shearwater from pristine Lord Howe Island, which starved on a full stomach - full of plastic waste it had mistaken for food. Scientists say that two-thirds of seabirds are affected by plastic trash which pollutes our waterways, rivers and end up in our oceans. Other species known to be impacted by plastic pollution in our oceans include turtles, whales, seals and fish. One of the biggest culprits is creating this plastic pollution is the beverage industry.
Coke is currently trashing a popular and proven 10 cent recycling refund scheme and is the main blocker standing in the way of a national scheme. ‘Cash for containers’ has run successfully for 30 years in South Australia, where recycling rates are almost double those across the rest of the country.
Coca Cola Amatil has for years sought to undermine this proven system, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on misleading advertising and reportedly threatening to campaign against MPs who support the policy.
'The spotlight is now on the State Premiers, especially Barry O’Farrell and Ted Baillieu, to stand up to Coke’s relentless bullying and take action to protect the environment from Coke’s blatant corporate self-interest,' said Greenpeace Campaigner Reece Turner.
'With only 5 weeks until Environment Ministers meet on 11 April to decide on a national roll out of ‘Cash for Containers’, these Premiers must decide whether they side with Coke or the community.'
Each year Australian’s consume around 14 billion drink containers, less than half of which are recycled. ‘Cash for Containers’, which is currently operating in SA, is the only globally proven recycling scheme.
The Nine Network has declined to screen the Greenpeace TV commercial which targets Coca Cola on the grounds it is ‘offensive’ to viewers.
The ad ‘Stop Coca-Cola trashing Australia’ shows people enjoying bottles of Coca Cola by the beach before seeing hundreds of sea birds literally dropping from the sky. The ad then focuses in on the birds and shows that they have consumed a large amount of plastics.
Greenpeace said Nine had originally agreed to run the ad after the group raised $20,000 for it to be screened during the Friday night football. The station accepted the booking payment before later changing its mind after viewing the ad.
'They took the money and now they’ve bottled it,' claimed Greenpeace campaigner Reece Turner. 'There’s something seriously wrong when TV networks are happy to show gambling, rape and pillage, but are too afraid to air an ad for recycling.'
'Coke has been accused of bullying politicians into blocking cash for containers,' said Turner. 'It’s a reasonable assumption their influence is behind Channel 9’s last minute choking. Australians have a right to know what Coke is doing to our environment. It’s just a pity Channel 9 don’t have the guts to tell the truth.'
Social media and feedback forums have responded by labeling Nine's action as hypocritical in the light of the Waterhouse betting controversy and the assumption that gambling and its promotion are not negative influences on children.