Coca-Cola today announced it is investing more than $60 million to build the world’s largest plastic-bottle-to-bottle recycling plant and support recycling in the U.S. These investments are part of a comprehensive goal to recycle or reuse 100 percent of the Company’s PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottles in the U.S.
"We have set an ambitious goal to recycle or reuse all the plastic bottles we use in the U.S. market," said Sandy Douglas, president Coca-Cola North America. "Our investments in recycling infrastructure, coupled with our work on sustainable package design, will help us reach this target."
World’s Largest Bottle-to-Bottle Recycling Plant
The Coca-Cola Company and United Resource Recovery Corporation (URRC) will build the world’s largest plastic bottle-to-bottle recycling plant in Spartanburg, S.C. The plant will produce approximately 100 million pounds of food-grade recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic for reuse each year – the equivalent of producing nearly two billion 20-ounce Coca-Cola bottles.
"The long-term sustainability of our business depends on our ability to ensure the sustainability of our packaging," said Mr. Douglas. "This new recycling facility represents a significant milestone as we work to advance recycling in the U.S. and ensure a strong end-market for our PET packaging."
The new 30-acre Spartanburg plant will open in 2008 and will be fully operational in 2009. It is part of a continuing effort by Coca-Cola to support recycling in key markets. Coca-Cola also has invested in recycling facilities in Switzerland, Mexico, Austria and the Philippines.
Recycling plastic for reuse yields financial benefits, requires less energy than producing bottles with virgin materials, and reduces waste and greenhouse gases. Over the next ten years, the Spartanburg recycling plant is expected to eliminate the production of one million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions – the equivalent of removing 21,500 cars from the road.
Coca-Cola has been focused on PET recycling and reuse since introducing the first beverage bottle made with recycled material in 1991. Since then, Coca-Cola has worked with URRC and other partners to accelerate the development and commercialization of environmentally-efficient and sustainable recycling technologies throughout the world. Today, The Coca-Cola Company uses recycled content in more than 17 countries, including the United States.
"Coca-Cola has staked a clear leadership position in its approach to sustainable packaging," said Kate Krebs, executive director, National Recycling Coalition (NRC). "The new Spartanburg plant represents an end-to-end recycling model that is world class and that I hope other industries will follow."
For a video overview of the plant, visithttp://www.eventstreams.com/recycling/
While PET has a high value as a recyclable in the marketplace, not enough material is recovered to meet the increasing demand for recycled content. To help bridge this gap and ensure ready access to recycled material, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc., the largest Coca-Cola bottler in North America, and The Coca-Cola Company formed Coca-Cola Recycling LLC (CCR) in November 2006.
CCR is dedicated to recovering and recycling Coca-Cola packaging materials used within the Coca-Cola system in the U.S. – including PET, aluminum, cardboard and plastic film. CCR will be developing cost-efficient solutions for reclaiming used beverage containers and will establish centralized recycling centers throughout the U.S.
Expanded Partnership with RecycleBank
Coca-Cola also continues to expand its relationship with curbside collection organizations. The Company will be expanding its partnership in RecycleBank and is expected to finalize its investment in the company today. RecycleBank currently operates in southern New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania and will be launching service in upstate New York, Vermont and Massachusetts in the fall of 2007. RecycleBank plans to be in 100,000 homes by the end of 2007. The additional investment will support a national rollout of the RecycleBank program by 2009.
RecycleBank leverages new technology and innovative consumer incentives to substantially increase household recycling participation and rates. Since its launch in 2003, RecycleBank has driven recycling rates in Philadelphia from 15 percent to more than 50 percent, and household participation from 30 percent to 90 percent.
"RecycleBank makes recycling easier and more convenient for consumers," said Scott Vitters, director of sustainable packaging, The Coca-Cola Company. "While consumers reap the rewards of recycling through RecycleBank incentives, businesses also benefit through the increased collection of valuable, reusable materials like PET."
Recycled PET Merchandise Program
Coca-Cola also has introduced a line of merchandise made out of recycled PET bottles. The products feature playful, pithy slogans such as "I’m wearing post-consumer waste," and "My white t-shirt is green", and is designed to inspire action by making every bottle count. Coca-Cola apparel and consumer products made with recycled PET are available online atwww.cokestore.comand at the New World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta. The line will be available in retail locations across the United States later this year.
Sustainable Package Design
Coca-Cola has a long history of designing packages with the environment in mind. It commissioned the first study to examine whole environmental impact of a package in 1969 and introduced the first food grade plastic bottle made with recycled material in 1991.
Since then, Coca-Cola has continued to improve the resource efficiency of its packages. For example:
- Aluminum cans, glass and plastic bottles have been reduced by 33 percent, 57 percent and 32 percent respectively since their introductions.
- In 2007, the DASANI bottle was redesigned to be lighter weight, reducing plastic use by 30 percent.
- The new 20-ounce contour bottle has been reduced by five percent across all Coca-Cola brands.
- Light weighting and bottle closure design efforts across all Coca-Cola products in PET packages will save 100 million pounds of plastic this year in the U.S.
The majority of Coca-Cola packages are not only recyclable; they are among the most recycled in the world thanks to their high end-use value.
- The DASANI bottle features a light blue color specifically designed to be compatible with recycling and has a cap that can be recycled.
- Approximately 70 percent of the primary packaging used to deliver The Company’s beverages in the U.S. is made from aluminum, PET plastic and glass – all of which are recyclable.
- The remaining 30 percent of beverage volume delivered is largely through highly efficient bulk packages such as refillable steel tanks or concentrated bag-in-box containers for fountain syrup.
About The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s largest beverage company. Along with Coca-Cola, recognized as the world’s most valuable brand, the Company markets four of the world’s top five nonalcoholic sparkling beverage brands, including the Diet Coke, Fanta and Sprite brands, and a wide range of other beverages, including diet and light beverages, waters, juices and juice drinks, teas, coffees, energy and sports drinks. Through the world’s largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company’s beverages at a rate exceeding 1.4 billion servings each day. For more information about The Coca-Cola Company, please visit our website atwww.thecoca-colacompany.com.
United Resource Recovery Corporation (URRC), headquartered in Spartanburg, S.C., is a leader in PET recycling technology. In 1994, URRC completely revolutionized the PET recycling industry by developing and patenting the world renown Hybrid UnPET process for chemically super-cleaning PET flake for cost efficient food grade packaging. In 1996, the company entered into a 5-year development program with The Coca-Cola Company to commercialize the process by producing food-grade quality PET chip for bottle-to-bottle recycling.
URRC provides manufacturing in the United States and offers licensing opportunities and engineering services for clients world wide.
RecycleBank is a rewards program that motivates people to recycle. It does this by quickly and easily measuring the amount of material each home recycles and then converting that activity into RecycleBank reward dollars that can be used at hundreds of local and national rewards partners. RecycleBank is simple to implement, market-driven and proven to work, saving municipalities money and rewarding citizens for their environmental stewardship. Visitwww.recyclebank.comfor more information.