A new report released by shareholder advocacy group As You Sow finds that several major beverage companies would support new laws making them financially responsible for the collection and recycling of post-consumer beverage packaging.

The report discusses new efforts by beverage companies to promote Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) mandates to reverse U.S. bottle and can recycling rates that are lagging behind other parts of the world.

The report, titled: “Waste & Opportunity: U.S. Beverage Container Recycling Scorecard and Report,” is the third review of the beverage industry from As You Sow since 2006. Nestle Waters North America received the highest ranking, followed closely by PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and Red Bull; Nestle, Pepsi and Coke received a B-; Red Bull received a C+.

“The major development since our last survey has been the willingness of leading beverage companies to consider new legislative mandates requiring them to take responsibility for their post-consumer packaging,” said Conrad MacKerron, Senior Director of As You Sow’s Corporate Social Responsibility Program.

“Many beverage and consumer packaged goods companies pay fees in other countries to finance recovery of their packaging.  It’s significant that companies are finally acknowledging the need to take responsibility in the U.S. as well.”

Interestingly, brewing companies were absent from the report, specifically Anheuser-Busch who refused to participate. They received the second highest score in the 2008 edition of this report, but lack of participation this year suggests their policies around transparency are lacking.

To download the full report and executive summary please click here.

What do you think about this revelation from the beverage industry? Do you think they’ll live up to the challenge? Do you think it’s their responsibility to be accountable for post-consumer waste from their products? Discuss!