Coke and Pepsi are responsible for a dramatic increase in packaging waste over the last ten years, which is hurting taxpayers and the environment, according to a new campaign by environmentalists in the US.

The two groups The Container recycling Institute and the Grassroots Recycling Network have taken out an advertisement in the New York Times today accusing the two drinks giants of "trashing America".

Coke and Pepsi waste from used aluminum cans, plastic and glass bottles doubled between 1992 and 2000, according to industry data. A financial incentive is urgently needed to reverse the decline in bottle and can recycling rates. Ten states with refundable deposits on beverage containers recycle more bottles and cans than the other 40 states put together, at almost no cost to taxpayers," Pat Franklin, executive director of the Container Recycling Institute, said today.

"We've chosen to launch a new national campaign in New York City today because decisions here about handling beverage containers have national implications. New York State is one of ten states with a beverage container deposit law, popularly known as the bottle bill. Deposit laws achieve the highest rates of recycling in the nation -- 78 percent on average. Coke and Pepsi have fought these laws for more than 30 years, and want to roll back this sound environmental policy," Franklin said.

"We believe that companies producing and selling beverages must be made accountable for their packaging waste. The principle is known as producer responsibility, which is a growing trend in policies adopted around the world," GrassRoots Recycling Network Executive Director Bill Sheehan said.

"Our goal is achieving an 80 percent national recycling rate for aluminum cans, plastic and glass bottles, roughly double the current rate," Sheehan said.