Recycling

From our industry perspective, recycling is an economic and environmental imperative. We believe our members are leaders in packaging, design and recycling program support and implementation. Our members are working with various partners in many different states to ensure recycling programs are effective and efficient.

The beverage industry membership (non-alcoholic, non-dairy beverages) products produce approximately 1.6 percent of all solid waste produced in the country today. While that amount is small compared to other forms of waste we believe we are all responsible for the health of our environment. Nearly 90 percent of the beverage industry’s consumer packages are aluminum or PET – the two most valuable commodities in recycling today. The continued use of these materials is a nod to our support of the recycling efforts nationwide.

We will continue to study and assist in the implementation practices that aim to make an impact on the problem. We will continue working with elected officials, environmental organizations and citizens and reaffirm our commitment to recycling.

Obesity

The soda industry has long been the target of the anti-obesity campaign. Our industry and its members have continued to take steps to educate our consumers on healthy choices. We are always seeking new ways to meet the changing needs of our customers. While we’re working to improve, it’s important that we continue to communicate accurate information on obesity. Below are important facts that have often gotten missed in media coverage on the obesity debate:

  • Calories from soda and other regular sweetened beverages are declining:
    • Full calorie soda down 12.5%
    • Average calorie soda down 23%
  • Food is the number one source of added sugars, not beverages.
  • Calories from soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages are only 7% of the American diet.

Curbing obesity in this country is a collective effort between the food and beverage industry coupled with overall lifestyle education. We are ready to be a part of that collective conversation.

Healthy Choices in Texas Schools: Legislation Enjoys TBA Support

Once again, Texas has shown itself to be a model for the nation when it comes to collaborative solutions to promote children’s health while respecting families and consumer choice.

This week, the Texas Legislature adopted HB 217, which aligns with TBA’s commitment to healthy choices for young people and supports the industry’s efforts to deliver healthy choices in Texas schools. The Texas Beverage Association supports the final version of HB 217 and appreciates the opportunity to work with the bill’s author Rep. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston) and sponsor Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio) in developing this legislation.

Contrary to some common misperceptions — including some seen in the media this week — carbonated beverages have not been sold in Texas schools during school hours for years. HB 217 outlines the low and no-calorie beverage choices available during the school day to Texas elementary and middle school students, while preserving the ability of young adults in high school to have more choices.

Both in Texas and across the nation, the beverage industry has worked on many fronts to promote children’s health, physical activity, and weight management. The industry’s School Beverage Guidelines have, over the last decade, led to an 88 percent reduction in the calorie count of beverages shipped to schools.

Austin Business Journal: TxDot messes with ‘Don’t Mess with Texas’

A story in the Austin Business Journal yesterday reported on the makeover to the 25-year old anti-litter campaign ‘Don’t Mess with Texas.’ We eagerly await the unveiling of the updated campaign and pledge our support to this and all anti-litter efforts across our state.

TxDOT messes with ‘Don’t Mess With Texas’

 

 

They’re messing with “Don’t Mess With Texas” – sort of.

Twenty-seven years after the iconic anti-littering campaign kicked off, the Texas Department of Transportation and Sherry Matthews Advocacy Marketing will hold a press conference on April 2 at the Texas Capitol to update the message and aim it at younger motorists — ages 16 to 34 — who are some of the most flagrant litterbugs on the road.

The overhaul won’t be drastic, but the event will showcase a new “Don’t Mess With Texas” jingle along with Esther’s Follies cast members dressed up as the red, white and blue litter cans that were a big component of the campaign created by Austin ad agency GSD&M.

Tim McClure, a co-founder of the agency and the brains behind the campaign, said he was glad TxDOT and Matthews’ agency “kept the DNA” of the original message and consulted with him when figuring out how to make it relevant to a younger generation.

“The message has to change, and I think this was long past due,” he said. “It’s a 25-year-old campaign, and I want it to last another 25 years.”

The updated campaign will emphasize the strong wording of the original message rather than the logo it gradually transitioned into, and the return of the familiar litter barrels will be a big component as well.

“One of the most important things was the original wording, and we always wanted the words to stand for themselves,” McClure said. “They’ve reached way back into the DNA of what we did and are giving it a new twist.”

WSJ: The Skinny on Anti-Obesity Soda Laws

The Skinny on Anti-Obesity Soda Laws
Imposing per-ounce levies or limiting serving sizes is a futile pursuit.
By MICHAEL L. MARLOW

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anti-obesity campaign to ban the sale of certain sugary drinks in large servings, especially sodas, was struck down last month in state court. A proposal for a penny-per-ounce excise tax on sweetened beverages also floundered in Vermont’s House of Representatives in February.

Yet Mayor Bloomberg has vowed to fight on, and the wider government war on obesity shows no sign of abating. Municipalities and states continue to target sodas. In February, a bill to levy a penny-per-ounce tax was introduced in California. Politicians and the media like to portray anti-obesity efforts as a battle against a food-industry conspiracy to make America fat. (Mayor Bloomberg’s limited-serving-size idea was such a nanny-state move that even the press turned on him.)

As an economist, I have two big gripes with such paternalistic public-health initiatives: The proposals aren’t grounded in data or compelling economic models, and soda taxes might catalyze a dismal chain reaction, with escalating government intrusions on personal freedom.

I recently reviewed the data on the impact of soda taxes for an article in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. I also examined how these “pro-tax” studies were received in the press. The body of evidence is small, in contrast with the debate’s decibel level. One 2012 study, published in Health Affairs, spawned many news stories along the lines of this one in the Los Angeles Times: “Soda tax could prevent 26,000 premature deaths, study finds.”

The authors acknowledged encountering “uncertainties and methodological challenges” and conceded that any links between soda taxes and prevalence of obesity were “weak.” The projected 26,000 premature deaths averted were over a decade. From the headlines, I wouldn’t have guessed any of this.

The authors of the study in Health Affairs conclude that existing sales taxes may be “too low to cause changes in calorie consumption” affecting the average body mass index, or BMI. In other words, the special levy would have to be adjusted upward until the intended effect is achieved. A 2010 study in Contemporary Economic Policy estimated that a punishing 58% tax on soda might change behavior sufficiently to lower the average BMI by only 0.16 points. But a drop of 0.16 is minuscule, given that the standard threshold for obesity is a BMI of 30. (And remember, the majority of people buying these products aren’t obese.)

For an individual with a sweet tooth, getting around a high soda tax would require neither genius nor brash acts. Some people in search of a less expensive sugar fix could switch to fruit juice. If the tax were low enough, they might also swallow it, so to speak. In a 2012 Cornell University study, consumers hit with a 10% tax on soda purchased fewer soft drinks for about one month. In three to six months, they were back to the base line.

Pressing ahead with soda taxes that don’t work can have serious consequences. When new taxes are imposed and escalated with no measurable impact or end in sight, consumers know that the tax is nonsense. The next time there’s a public-health campaign that might be worthwhile—perhaps one that would keep these individuals out of the hospital—they’re resistant. In effect, they’ve been inoculated against messages that might matter.

Public cynicism deepens further when taxpayers see what becomes of the revenues earned by lifestyle taxes. Last year, an organization called Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids ran the numbers on 14 years of tobacco-related taxes. The report estimates that, in fiscal year 2013, states will collect a record $25.7 billion in revenue from the 1998 tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes. But states are expected to pay less than 2% of it on tobacco-smoking prevention and cessation—even though the 1998 settlement was sold to fund such programs. People notice when promises go unfulfilled and tax revenues are diverted from their intended purposes.

Is there a legitimate role for government in battling obesity? Perhaps. Authorities can encourage private initiatives around exercise and dieting. They can promote more bicycle lanes. But they should stay out of the business of trying to alter behavior for people’s own good.

What would come after Mayor Bloomberg’s downsized sodas, if his dream is realized? Government-assigned limits on what we may purchase in grocery stores, what meals restaurants may offer or even how frequently we can eat out?

The very question “what should government do?” takes us down a shadowy path. Laws are different from products or services sold on the market. If you hired a personal trainer to help you lose weight and you actually got fatter, you’d fire the trainer. You can’t fire a regulation.

Mr. Marlow, an economics professor at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, is the author of “The Myth of Fair and Efficient Government: Why the Government You Want Is Not the One You Get” (Praeger, 2011).

The article can be found here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324789504578380271797966326.html

 

HB 1473 is outdated, costly, inefficient and counterproductive

Facts About The Beverage Container Deposit Programs, HB 1473:

FACT: Redemption centers are very expensive to establish and operate and result in higher costs of products to the producers, passed to the consumer by product price increases.

FACT: HB 1473 would add a 5 cent fee on 24 oz. or less beverage containers and a 10 cent fee on containers more than 24 oz. – essentially, a container tax.

FACT: Beverage containers of all types represent an average of 7 percent of all littered items. The existence of a deposit program will have no effect on the remaining 93 percent of waste.

FACT: Recycling systems are wrought with fraud, especially when bordered by states without redemption programs, like Texas.  Fraud only increases the cost of these programs, meaning Texas could end up paying more for the program than it receives.

FACT: HB 1473 greatly expands the role of government by creating a “Consortium” to oversee the program and enforce fees and generate reports on the program. In California the government agency that oversees the recycling program spends $46 million per year, just for its own operation expenses and a fund that is currently in $100 million in deficit.

FACT: Bottle tax programs in other states have yielded disappointing results causing states like Delaware to repeal bottle taxes in favor of more comprehensive recycling programs. In California, the state is losing millions of dollars to recycling fraud from people redeeming cans purchased in other states. In fact only one state, Hawaii, has adopted a bottle tax law in the last 23 years.

SUMMARY: The industry supports strategies that improve recycling rates for beverage containers in a efficient and equitable manner. The industry does not support solution like deposits that impose disproportionately high costs to address a small part of the problem. HB 1473 is not the solution.

Soda Taxes lose, even in blue states

The following article appeared in the Orange County Register March 12, 2013, authored by Bob Achermann, Executive Director of the California/Nevada Soft Drink Association.

Soda taxes lose, even in blue states

Obesity is considered a more serious health issue than smoking and tobacco use. It’s consiered more serious than heart disease, HIV/AIDS, alcohol and drug abuse or mental illness. The only health issue considered more serious than obesity is cancer, according to a recent nationwide survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Californians, like the rest of the nation, acknowledge obesity is a serious problem. Unhealthy eating habits and lack of physical activity are considered greater health risks to children than illegal drug use, according to a 2012 Field Poll of California voters.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, television’s celebrity surgeon, addressed the obesity crisis at the National Governors Association Conference in Washington, D.C., this month. He implored governors to develop their own statewide plans to reduce obesity, including new laws and regulations.

A bill to tax sweetened beverages has been introduced in the California Legislature. The revenue would pay for a new childhood obesity program. Similar legislation was introduced in 2010 but failed to gain traction. Another new tax to pay for another new program will leave many voters skeptical.

Two California cities made attempts at taxing soda and other beverages last November. Richmond, a working-class city outside San Francisco, seemed an ideal location to pass the first tax of its kind on beverages: Democrats outnumber Republicans by roughly seven to one, and the city’s residents traditionally vote in favor of new taxes. The same political calculation applied in El Monte, a suburb of Los Angeles, where residents a few years earlier voted to increase their sales tax to 9.25 percent.

Despite promises from city council members that the tax revenue would be spent on programs to reduce obesity, Richmond and El Monte voters sent strong messages of disapproval on Election Day. In Richmond, 67 percent of voters were against the measure. In El Monte, the no vote was more lopsided: 77 percent.

These rejections were the latest in a tidal wave of opposition to government intrusion over what to drink and how much. Four years ago in reliably progressive Maine, the state Legislature approved a tax on sweetened beverages, which was quickly overturned by 65 percent of voters in a referendum. Washington State’s Legislature passed a similar beverage tax in the final hours of the 2010 session, and it, too, was overturned by referendum. Philadelphia’s mayor and the former governor of New York each twice attempted beverage taxes but were unable to have them enacted.

What should we glean from voters in arguably the bluest sections of the bluest states, who are rejecting soda taxes by large majorities? It’s this: What you eat, drink and feed your family is your choice and does not need government control, oversight or influence.

The same poll that showed obesity is a major health concern among Americans also found that 82 percent of respondents believe the major reason of the country’s obesity problem is too much time in front of TV, video games and computer screens.

It’s nonsense to think government can – or should – change what we eat and drink. If we want to get serious about obesity, we should start with education – not laws and regulations.

Solutions Are More Than Another New Tax

Don’t mess with Texas.  As Texans we take our land and the quality of that land seriously.  We don’t want our views of the bluebonnet-covered hills interrupted by littered bags, bottles and other garbage.  Litter is a problem, however, the recurring bottle tax solution is not the answer.

Bottle tax laws attempt to be the catchall solution of the litter problem, however, bottle tax laws are generally outdated, costly, inefficient and counterproductive. Additionally, bottle tax programs in other states have yielded disappointing results causing states like Delaware to repeal bottle taxes in favor of more comprehensive recycling programs. In California, the state is losing millions of dollars to recycling fraud from people redeeming cans purchased in other states. In fact only one state, Hawaii, has adopted a bottle tax law in the last 23 years.

We are concerned with the impact littering has on our environment but bottle taxes show disappointing environmental benefits. Beverage containers of all types average 7.4 percent of litter, so a deposit program ignores 93 percent of the problem it is trying to solve.

We believe that by improving existing recycling programs we can grow the positive impact we have on recycling and litter in our state. We can make current programs more effective by making recycling even easier, offering more incentives and creating a more efficient process that includes all recyclables.  The Texas Beverage Association would welcome the opportunity to work with the state and other stakeholders to determine innovative and effective approaches to this problem.

We believe we can do better than just creating another new tax.

SNAP Restrictions: A misguided and ineffective effort

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP — what you may know as “food stamps” — provides much-needed assistance to low-income Texans and their families. Recently, two bills have been filed at the Texas Legislature that seek to restrict what SNAP recipients can buy with that assistance. House Bill 751, by Rep. Richard Peña Raymond (D-Laredo), would  ban the purchase of  “sweetened beverages with SNAP benefits. Another bill, HB 523 by Rep. Terry Canales (D-Edinburg), would ban energy drinks — but not coffee” — from the SNAP program.

The Texas Beverage Association opposes all efforts to restrict choice for any consumers — including those who receive SNAP assistance.

Here’s what you need to know:

• Advocates for low-income Texans — the strongest supporters of SNAP funding — are also opposed to SNAP restrictions (http://forabettertexas.org/images/2012_05_22_AltToSNAPRestrictions.pdf). For example, the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP) concludes, “ participation in the SNAP program does not contribute to the obesity epidemic, it is not a practical place to look to reverse the problem. … There is no empirical evidence that restricting choice in SNAP will improve diets or reduce obesity.” In fact, CPPP believes that SNAP restrictions “will likely decrease SNAP participation and increase obesity and food insecurity.”

SNAP assistance consumers are capable of making grocery choices for their families. Importantly, the beverage industry is helping consumers make that choice more easily by placing clear calorie labels on the front of every can, bottle and pack we produce so consumers know exactly how many calories they are getting before they buy.  Our industry also offers more low- and no-calorie options in an array of portion sizes. This has lead to a 23 percent reduction in the average calories per serving since 1998.

• Our beverages — not just sodas, but teas, juices, flavored waters and sports drinks — only account for about 7 percent of the calories in US diets (NHANES 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db110.htm). When it comes to healthy and balanced diets, there’s nothing unique about beverages that justifies special SNAP restrictions more than any other food product. Despite headlines about energy drinks — which HB 523 defines solely by their caffeine content — they are no more “unhealthy” than coffee. In fact, despite the misperceptions, most mainstream energy drinks contain about half the caffeine as a similar size cup coffeehouse coffee

What You Can Do: Contact your state representative and let him or her know that you’re opposed to SNAP restrictions that don’t work, restrict freedom of choice, and make the whole program less effective. You can also get the word out to your friends, neighbors and networks and counter misinformation in the media. Stay current on the issue by visiting us here at txbev.org or following @TxBev on Twitter.

Soda tax bills: Not a healthy choice for Texas

Every so often, we see proposals to “help people make healthier choices” by charging higher taxes on soda. This session of the Texas Legislature is no exception; two bills filed by Rep. Joe Farias (D-San Antonio), HB 735 and HB 779, would impose taxes on regular beverages.

In HB 735, the proposed tax is 5 cents per 12 ounces; in HB 779, it’s a penny per ounce. In both bills, retailers and wholesalers would be required to obtain a new permit to sell regular beverages, and the taxes collected would be allocated to the state’s education and health agencies to support children’s health programs.

The Texas Beverage Association supports healthy choices, but regressive and unfair sales taxes on a single type of product will not make Texans healthy. Here’s what you need to know about higher taxes on sweetened beverages:

• Soda taxes won’t make people healthy. Lots of researchers have tried to find evidence that soda taxes would lead to improvements in public health, and so far that evidence just isn’t there. For example, in a George Mason University study in 2010 found that even a huge 40% tax on soda could only be expected to produce an average annual weight loss of about 1.3 pounds per person. Another study looked at a 20% tax (higher than HB 735, lower than HB 779) and found the expected weight loss was too small to even measure on a bathroom scale.

• Public Opposes Soda Taxes. Considering how often we hear them proposed, it’s worth noting that nearly all attempts to impose new soda taxes have failed. Maine and Washington have tried it, but unhappy voters forced a referendum and repealed the taxes by a 2-1 margin. New York failed twice to pass soda taxes even with the governor’s support. Interestingly, two states that do have special taxes on soda — Arkansas and West Virginia — are in the Top 10 for obesity rates, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

What You Can Do: Contact your state representative and let him or her know that you’re opposed to HB 735 and HB 779 and all similar wrong-headed and ineffective tax proposals. You can also get the word out to your friends, neighbors and networks and counter misinformation in the media. Stay on top of the issue by visiting us here at txbev.org or following @TxBev on Twitter.