Coca-Cola opens largest bottle-to-bottle recycling plant

Posted by Isobel Drake on 16th January 2009

The Coca-Cola Company and United Resource Recovery Corporation (URRC) have launched the world’s largest plastic bottle-to-bottle recycling plant in the US state of South Carolina. Coca-Cola said the new plant would be a key in their quest to recycle and reuse 100 per cent of their cans and bottles in America.

When fully operational, the plant will produce approximately 100 million pounds of food-grade recycled PET plastic each year – the equivalent of nearly two billion 20-ounce Coca-Cola bottles. Recycling PET for reuse yields significant environmental benefits, the Company advised. Over the next ten years the plant will prevent the release of one million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions – the equivalent of removing 215,000 cars from the road.

As part of the opening celebrations, Coca-Cola also announced the launch of a multi-million dollar marketing effort supporting recycling entitled “Give it Back.”

“Today we turn our commitments into action as we mark a key milestone in our goal to recycle and reuse 100 per cent of our bottles and cans in the U.S. and ensure the sustainability of our packaging,” commented Sandy Douglas, president of Coca-Cola North America. “The opening of the plant, coupled with our investment in recycling businesses, programs and a new marketing effort, underscores our belief that our packaging has value and we want it back – both for our own supply chain and to support the myriad of other uses for recycled aluminum and plastic.”

“We have been working with Coca-Cola for more than 10 years to help accelerate the development and commercialisation of new, sustainable recycling technology,” said Carlos Gutierrez, president of United Resource Recovery Corporation (URRC). “(We are) hopeful that (the plant) can serve as an example of how investing in recycling infrastructure can have both environmental and economic benefits.”

The “Give it Back” marketing program is designed to remind consumers that Coca-Cola bottles and cans are valuable recyclables. The new multi-million dollar marketing effort supporting recycling will produce nearly one billion impressions in 2009 through billboard, print and television advertising, online messaging and promotional activities nationwide and at 600 college campuses across the United States.