Coca-Cola's Olympic effort recycles 1 million bottles
Posted by Jenni Spinner, Senior Editor -- Packaging Digest, 10/2/2012 10:04:16 AM
The Coca Cola System in Great Britain (‘Coca Cola'), has today announced that it has recycled 10.5 million bottles collected from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, returning them to GB shelves as part of new bottles. This will result in 42 million bottles, each containing 25% rPET. The success of this large-scale bottle-to-bottle recycling process is part of Coca Cola's commitment to helping the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) deliver the most sustainable Games possible.
The opening of Continuum Recycling, Coca Cola Enterprises' new £15 million joint venture recycling facility with ECO Plastics, allowed over 10.5 million clear plastic bottles from London 2012 venues to be recycled within just six weeks of disposal, saving an estimated 310 tonnes of carbon.
During the Games, Coca Cola sought to educate people about the speed with which a plastic bottle could now be turned into a brand new bottle in this country. Nielsen research commissioned by Coca Cola shows that 70 per cent of visitors surveyed at London 2012 said, on learning this, they would now be more likely to recycle at home.
The results of Coca Cola's most sustainable sponsorship activation to date have been published in a new report authored by Good Business, a leading sustainability strategy consultancy. It sets out a number of world-class sustainability initiatives across waste, climate change and health & wellness, delivered in partnership with organisations including WWF and WRAP, that Coca Cola hopes will inspire future events organisers.
Key sustainability achievements delivered as part of Coca Cola's sponsorship of London 2012 include:
• Coca Cola worked with LOCOG and WRAP to design an innovative waste system that looked at the shape, style and position of recycling bins at London 2012 venues, a model which will be passed to the organisers of future large events.
• At all London 2012 venues, Coca Cola products were served in 100% recyclable plastic bottles that contained up to 25% recycled content (rPET).
• Investment in Continuum Recycling, a state-of-the-art low carbon warehouse facility, and 14 new biogas trucks that will be incorporated into Coca Cola's supply chain.
• Coca Cola is the first major corporation to be independently verified as applying the new ISO standard for sustainable event management.
• Adopting pioneering carbon footprinting methodology enabled Coca Cola to cut the carbon footprint of its distribution system at the Games by a third.
Alongside initiatives that delivered positive benefits for the environment, Coca Cola used London 2012 to inspire people to develop more active and healthy lifestyles. Coca Cola's three-year partnership with national grassroots sports charity StreetGames has brought sport to 110,000 young people around the UK. Coca Cola has also been a supporter of Special Olympics GB for 34 years and to coincide with London 2012, helped the expansion of the Unified Sports programme, which brings together those with and without intellectual disabilities to play sport on the same team.
Coca Cola offered consumers the widest range of drinks ever provided at an Olympic and Paralympic Games. More than 70% of the drinks Coca Cola served at London 2012 venues were juice, water or low-or-no calorie options and more than 95% were manufactured in GB. Coca Cola's menu boards at London 2012 venues carried Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) information - as did all bottles of sparkling soft drinks, Powerade and Glaceau Vitaminwater - enabling visitors to make informed choices about what they drank.
Jon Woods, General Manager, Coca Cola Great Britain & Ireland, said:
"As the longest, continuous sponsor of the Olympic Movement, we knew that our sponsorship provided a one-off opportunity to accelerate many of our sustainability initiatives here in Great Britain. But we wanted to go even further than that and use London 2012 to encourage our suppliers, our customers and the people who enjoy our products to join us in adopting more sustainable behaviours. Investing in sporting opportunities for young people, offering the widest range of drinks we have ever offered at an Olympic and Paralympic Games and developing a best practice waste and recycling system all contributed to making London 2012 our most sustainable sponsorship activation ever. We've achieved a great deal with our partners and the benefits from these investments will continue to make a positive difference to our consumers and the communities we serve long after the Games are over."
Simon Baldry, Managing Director of Coca Cola Enterprises in GB, said: "We always saw the Games as an important catalyst for our ongoing efforts to build a low carbon, zero waste business here in GB. I'm delighted that through Continuum Recycling we have been able to recycle enough material from Olympic venues to use in 42 million new PET bottles within just six weeks of people throwing them away. This is an important milestone and shows we are serious about setting the industry standard for sustainable packaging in this country."
David Nussbaum, CEO, WWF UK, said: "The work Coca Cola has undertaken to reduce its impact at the Games, and the lengths to which it has gone to use the power of its brand to engage others and ensure its actions have a lasting impact is to be commended and sets a standard for future corporate sponsorship of international events."
Source: The Coca-Cola Co.
40 years since plastic recycling started, and still the best a global bottler can do is put 25% recycled PET into their plastic bottles.
As the article says, in order to use all those 10 million recycled bottles, they have to make 40 million new bottles. Take that the next step. If those 40 million new bottles were all recycled, they'd have to make 160 million bottles from them in order to use all the PET.
Clearly it quickly becomes unviable to take all that plastic back. So it has to get landfilled, burned, dumped on third-world countries with no laws/infrastructure to protect their people from misuse, or downcycled to make more & more & more plastic "stuff" to fill our houses & lives. Much of which washes out into parks, rivers, and the ocean with every "oops" moment or natural disaster.
It's a snowball rolling down a mountain. It's a greenwash.
Harold Johnson, The Flotsam Diaries - 2012-5-10 10:31:06 EDT
It doesn't really matter. The difference is 25 or 250 tons. According to their CSR Report, in 2011 they used 126,000 tons. The good news is, they are starting to make a difference.
Simon Ruetz - 2012-3-10 00:40:17 EDT
Angela Brown - 2012-2-10 11:45:56 EDT
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