Coca-Cola Opens World’s Largest Recycling Plant

The Coca-Cola Company and United Resource Recovery Corporation (URRC) have announced the grand opening of the world’s largest plastic bottle-to-bottle recycling plant, located in Spartanburg, S.C.

As part of the opening-day celebration, Coca-Cola announced the launch of a multi-million dollar marketing effort to support recycling, called “Give it Back.”

“Today we turn our commitments into action as we mark a key milestone in our goal to recycle and reuse 100% of our bottles and cans in the U.S. and ensure the sustainability of our packaging,” said Sandy Douglas, president of Coca-Cola North America. “The opening of the Spartanburg 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.”

When fully operational, the plant will produce approximately 100 million pounds of food-grade recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic each year, the equivalent of nearly 2 billion 20-ounce Coca-Cola bottles.

Recycling PET for reuse results in significant environmental benefits, according to Coca-Cola.

Over the next 10 years, the recycling plant will prevent the release of 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of removing 215,000 cars from the road. In addition to environmental benefits, the 30-acre Spartanburg plant has created 100 new jobs in the local community, Coca-Cola said.

Coca-Cola’s “Give it Back” program is designed to remind consumers that the company’s bottles and cans are valuable recyclables. The new marketing effort will produce nearly 1 billion impressions in 2009 through billboard, print and television advertising, online messaging and promotional activities nationwide and at 600 college campuses throughout the U.S.

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