Greenpeace Scales Iconic Sydney Coke Sign

Scott Wallace
23rd Mar 2016

Greenpeace scales iconic Sydney Coke sign to urge better recycling

Greenpeace Australia Pacific climbers scaled the iconic Kings Cross Coke sign today to urge New South Wales Premier Mike Baird to stand up to soft drink giant Coca-Cola by adopting a world’s-best recycling scheme for drink bottles and cans.

“Coke spends millions every year to maximise its corporate profits, and is trying to undermine a solution to our massive pollution problem.  We chose this ad space to tell Coke to get out of the way, and implore Mr Baird to put the community before the interests of a soft drink company,” said Nathaniel Pelle, Greenpeace Australia Pacific’s oceans campaigner.

The seven climbers, who positioned themselves at the top of the Coke sign early this morning, attempted to hang a large banner reading ‘Stop Coke Trashing Australia’ over the billboard before police intervened. Seven activists have been arrested for trespassing and are expected to be released later today.  

The activity took place the day after the 2016 Asia Pacific Regional Beverages Summit in Sydney, the annual regional conference of beverage industry representatives where opposition to the proven container deposit system was high on the agenda.

Coca-Cola is seeking to block the introduction of a container deposit system in NSW that returns 10c to consumers for every drink can and bottled recycled.

“Last year, Mr Baird promised NSW a world’s best-practice container deposit recycling system by 2017. Coke is lobbying hard for him to adopt a beverage industry plan that won’t solve our enormous litter problem.

“If Mr Baird breaks his promise, it will be because he put the interests of Coca-Cola ahead of the people of NSW, and the environment.”

The NSW Government is set to choose between Mr Baird’s promised container deposit system and Coke’s inferior alternative within months.

Best-practice container deposit systems have been proven to reduce litter and the unnecessary production of new materials. A container deposit scheme has been used in South Australia for more than 35 years and has practically eliminated drink bottle litter.

“In NSW, drink containers make up at least 44 per cent of all litter; in South Australia it’s less than 3 per cent. Globally, the equivalent of a garbage truck load of plastic ends up in the ocean every minute - that’s eight million tonnes a year - and the rate is rising. It’s choking our seas, and killing birds and marine life.

“We cannot have a fizzy drinks company dictating our waste policy or blocking effective solutions to a major global pollution problem,” said Mr Pelle.

Greenpeace, Clean Up Australia, The Total Environment Centre and 30 other community groups are working together as the Boomerang Alliance to ensure NSW gets the promised world’s best-practice container deposit legislation.