Sodastream take on Coca Cola's bottling

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Home carbonation company Sodastream are on a mission to rally support against the dangers of plastic bottle pollution — and getting up the nose of Coke by doing so. Managing editor David Donovan reports.

DID YOU have a Sodastream as a kid? I did. Great, weren't they? Somehow, since then, I've forgotten all about them.

Sadly, I wasn’t even aware they still existed — I though the promise of turning water into soft drink in 10 seconds had gone the way of the slinky and the hula hoop. [Note to self: check to see if slinkies and hula hoops are still popular.]

Well, anyway, this British-based carbonation company, which was established way back in 1903, is still around and, surprisingly at least to me, they now seem to be bigger now than ever. Sodastream's website claims 10 million people have taken their challenge to stop using cans and plastic bottles and that they distribute their home carbonation machines into 40 countries.

Part of the reason hordes of people are turning away from plastic bottles now, it seems, is because of increasing awareness about the wasteful, harmful and polluting effects of plastic bottles, including such environmental blights as the Great Pacific Waste Patch:

It appears Sodastream is to expand its educational “Cage Exhibit” display worldwide in conjunction with an annual “Un-Bottle the World” day on July 16, aimed at rallying support against the dangers of plastic bottle pollution.

The company says the Cage Exhibit is an environmental showcase highlighting the amount of plastic bottles and cans that an average family throws away over 3 years. The contents used in the exhibits are removed from garbage dumps or other trash locations. To raise awareness about the damages of plastic waste, Sodastream will unveil 20 new Cage Exhibits at international airports and other high traffic locations throughout the month of July, beginning on July 16.

According to Sodastream, the participating countries include Australia, the  US, UK, Italy, France, South Africa, Germany, Belgium, Japan, Canada, Norway, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Ireland, Israel, Switzerland, Slovakia, Sweden and Brazil.

Cage Exhibit at OR Tambor International Airport, South Africa.[/caption]

A similar exhibit at Oliver Tambor Airport in South Africa recently provoked a strong reaction from Coca-Cola, who sent a “cease-and-desist” letter to Sodastream urging a removal of their products from the exhibit as it “infringes on Coca-Cola trademark rights.”  Sodastream says it refused to comply, noting that if Coca-Cola claimed ownership rights to the discarded bottles they should take responsibility to clean them up.


The Oliver Tambor exhibit ended its run as scheduled on July 8, while a virtual “Cage Challenge” was recently created on Facebook which Sodastream says attracted over 100,000 followers from 46 countries who supported the call to send used bottles “back to whom they belong” during just the first week.

Sodastream's Australian CEO Matt Gabelich says they refuse to be silenced by big plastic bottler producers like Coca Cola.
“It is important to educate people about the damages caused by plastic bottle waste.  Now that we have completed the full term of the cage exhibit in South Africa, we want to continue showing people around the world what Coke does not want them to see.”

Cage Exhibit, USA.

Gabelich says recycling alone is not the answer, as shown by the Great Pacific Garbage Patch:
“To those who believe recycling is the solution we say think again. Every day approximately 1 billion plastic bottles end up in our parks, rivers and landfills, because less than 30% are recycled.  And recycling alone does not address the pollution and oil waste caused by the manufacturing and transportation of these products. 

“The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, reported by some sources to be as large as Texas or France evidences the danger we face by relying on recycling.  We hope that the big soda companies will take responsibility over their garbage, clean it up, and then reconsider their current bottling practices.”

Some specific locations you will find the environmental cage in July and August 2012:

  • Tullamarine Airport , Melbourne.

    • Heathrow airport, UK

      • JFK International airport, USA

        • Charles-De-Gaulle airport, France

          • Frankfurt Central station, Germany

            • Winnipeg International airport, Canada

              • Bratislava International airport, SlovakiaCage

              • [caption id="attachment_19848" align="alignnone" width="453"] Cage Exhibit, Japan.

[Neither Independent Australia nor the author received any compensation for this piece from Sodastream or any other organisation; this story is published by IA as part of its commitment to the environment and support for ethical and innovative business practices. If your business is doing the right thing, perhaps against stiff opposition from big polluters, please get in touch with us.]  

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License
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