Coca-Cola Makes 2012 Olympics Recycling Pledge

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The soft drink giant plans to ditch standard delivery trucks for shipments to Olympic Park in favor of 14 new biogas lorries. Photo: Flickr/sillygwailo

Coca-Cola has pledged to recycle all clear plastic bottles collected at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games into 80 million new Coke bottles, the company announced on Wednesday.

As part of the pledge, Coca-Cola will recycle all colorless Coke and non-Coke PET plastic waste into new bottles within six weeks of the the closing ceremony, reports Marketing magazine. The company estimates that the recycling plan will account for one-fifth of all consumer waste produced at game venues.

Through a partnership with Sita UK, the waste management partner of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), Coke will send plastics to Continuum Recycling – the company’s joint venture recycling facility with ECO Plastics. Based in North Lincolnshire, the new recycling center is expected to more than double the current production of food-grade recycled PET in the UK from 35,000 tons in 2010 to 75,000 tons, reports UK Packaging News.

LOCOG plans to divert 100 percent of waste generated at the 2012 Olympic Games from landfills, with at least 70 percent of all waste being reused, recycled or composted, and the new Coke initiative brings the committee one step closer to achieving their goals.

To set the stage for a sustainable Olympics, Coke has already set up 260 new recycling bins around the Olympic Park to get locals used to the idea of increased recycling. More than 11,000 tons of waste are produced in London every day, according to the company. And those numbers will skyrocket as millions of fans flock to the city to catch a glimpse of Olympic glory.

Added recycling options did not go unnoticed by London residents, as more than 97 percent of locals thought recycling was hampered by a lack of facilities, according to a citywide Coca-Cola survey.

“Encouraging consumers to recycle is a vital part of [a sustainable Olympics], but it’s not just something we should do for four weeks during the Games,” said Liz Lowe, citizenship manager at Coca-Cola Great Britain. “We want to use the power of the Olympic Games to inspire consumers to help make London more sustainable in the run up to 2012 and long after.”

In addition to recycling goals, Coca-Cola said it plans to distribute its products to the Olympic Park from a more eco-friendly warehouse in Dagenham, London, and deliver products using 14 new biogas lorries equipped with HFC-free coolers, reports Environmental Data Interactive. New methods will cut the carbon footprint of Coca-Cola’s distribution to the Games by a third, the company said.

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