San Francisco Supervisors Propose Sugary Beverage Tax

“We must act aggressively to address this epidemic,” Wiener said. About 35.7 percent of the adult U.S. population is obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Studies have linked drinking sugary beverages like soda during childhood to obesity problems later in life . If Wiener’s measure gets approved, the revenue would go toward funding nutritional and recreational programs in the city schools and parks, with a special focus on low-income neighborhoods with high sugary drink consumption rates. Mar’s measure on the other hand gives money gained from the tax to area communities with the highest Type 2 diabetes rates. Mar said he hopes to combine the two measures into one proposal, CBS San Francisco reported. Californians for Food and Beverage Choice , which is a part of the industry group the American Beverage Association, pointed out that Californians have rejected similar measures before because they are “unnecessary, wasteful distractions from serious policymaking.” “Providing people with education, opportunities for physical activity and diverse beverage choices to fit their lifestyles are proven strategies for maintaining health,” the group wrote in a statement. “Just last November, voters in the California cities of El Monte and Richmond said as much by soundly defeating proposed taxes on the sale of sugar- sweetened beverages — with 76 percent and 67 percent, respectively, voting ‘no.'” Mar said he wasn’t surprised that there would be a “a food fight with the beverage industry” over the measures. Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, a UCSF professor of medicine, epidemiology and biostatistics, told the San Francisco Chronicle that her research has shown that a tax as little as a one cent may make a huge dent in the health epidemic caused by excess sugar.

Beverage Industry Recycling Gets a Report Card for 2011

The rest are either land-filled or incinerated. The report indicates a direct link between container recovery rates and the ability of manufacturers to incorporate recycled content, like polyethylene terephthalate (PET), into new bottles. We note that several companies said they couldnt make solid commitments to close the loop faster because they were having trouble getting adequate supplies of post-consumer PET, says Conrad MacKerron, senior program director for As You Sows Corporate Social Responsibility Program. The best option for increasing recovery rates is more consumer deposit laws, according to MacKerron. But beverage companies are opposed to this solution, leaving any increased responsibility with the companies themselves in the form of EPR legislation. Numbered scores given to individual companies are based on the information they provided in the survey. Companies that were invited but did not respond were graded based upon public information. Each company was also assigned an overall letter grade, with the highest awarded being a B-. A recurring theme was that while progress has been made by some companies in reducing source material, no substantial commitments are being made to use recycled content in future packaging. Based upon its findings, the report makes several recommendations on how the beverage industry should proceed. An emphasis on coordinating with other stakeholders, including other consumer packaging industries and retailers that produce private label lines, is necessary to move toward EPR legislation and related policy goals. It has already started to occur with an effort led by Nestle Waters North America to get beverage companies, grocers like Whole Foods and (Consumer Packaged Goods manufacturers) to work together to seriously engage on this issue and develop an EPR program model for packaging that could be supported by these industry sectors as state-based legislation, says MacKerron.The report also stated that major brewing companies, including Anheuser Busch and MillerCoors, need to set more aggressive recycling goals and increase disclosure of their practices and sustainability efforts. Whole Foods Market was one of the companies whose main business is not beverages that responded to the As You Sow survey.

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