Karl, a student at colorado university, asked Bob Woodall:

I am a student at the University of Colorado in Boulder and read an article in the local paper "Colorado Daily" entitled "Recycling Doesn't Go Better With Coke" in which you had a contribution. They printed your statement, "Coca-Cola sells 20 million sodas every day in the United States in plastic bottles without using a single ounce of recycled plastic. As Coke uses more and more plastic, it is undermining plastic recycling."

I am somewhat of an environmentalist, and when I first read this article, I was angered that the US Coke industries do not use recycled plastic, but their foreign counterparts do, to a certain percentage. So I decided to do a little research on it and see if Coke had anything to say. I visited their website at
www.thecoca-colacompany.com to find a whole section on contributions to the environment. They stated "Last year the Coca-Cola business system purchased more than $2 billion of materials and supplies containing recycled materials in the United States alone."

So, I am confused, are [you] just using this as a publicity mark to attract people that they do use recycled products, or are you trying to reduce a company that seems to be doing a good job for the environment? I don't know who to side with, whether to ban coca- cola and not purchase their drinks and other merchandise until they go on with their agreement to use at least 25% recycled plastics like they agreed on in 1990 or to continue enjoying that refreshing taste which is a small fraction of contributed money to programs which Coke does benefit with money like Environmental Education and The National Park Foundation. Visit the website and respond to a confused environmentalist.


If this kid is right about Coke buying $2 billion (billion?) in recycled content stuff in one year, then we need to know that ... as the heat goes up on them (great job everyone!!) they WILL respond, and when they do, it will be with a sharp sword... they play to win, and most of the public is wanting them to be "good guys" and will give them the benefit of the doubt . I think Coke will play to that, and this website data could be a hint as to where they will go....


Coke sells over $18 billion worth of product and packaging each year worldwide -- and the packaging costs them more than the product (pat franklin has figures). So I do not think $2 billion for recycled materials is so impressive -- even if it is only for the U.S.

I am surprised it is only $2 billion, considering that they sell three times as many aluminum cans (25 to 30 billion, with high recycled content) as plastic bottles in the U.S., and those cans are packed in recycled boxboard. ..

I think that we just need to stay on message here: Coke is not using recycled plastic as they promised. The fact that soda bottles are made into 50 different products -- but not back into soda bottles -- should not let them off the hook, any more than the fact that they are buying recycled content products elsewhere.

It is o.k. to acknowledge Coke's efforts elsewhere -- but we should also point out that they are moving rapidly from recycled content aluminum and glass containers to zero-recycled content plastic bottles.


[Your] interpretation of Coke's numbers is right on. The soft drink industry uses about 65 billion aluminum cans each year. Given Coke's 40%+ U.S. soft drink market share, it is responsible for using about 26 billion cans annually. Aluminum cans have an average post-consumer recycled content of just over 50%, with another 20% of post-industrial scrap, making a total recycled content of more than 70% for this container.

Aluminum cans cost about 5-6 cents each (heck, it costs Coke 2 cents per can for the aluminum ingot alone, which does not include the costs of rolling the ingot into sheet, then cutting out and rolling the can). Thus, Coke pays about between $1.3 billion and $1.6 billion annually just for the aluminum cans. It also buys a little glass. And, all of the corrugated shipping containers and the other paper packaging has recycled content. It does not surprise me that Coke is able to claim it spends $2 billion in the U.S. alone on recycled content packaging, because aluminum cans will account for 60% to 80% of that claim.

Colorado students should boycott Coke.


This is the point!

They are moving away from aluminum and glass packages that are made with recycled materials, and are now pushing a package that could be but is now not made with any recycled materials.

We recognize PET's value in sturdiness and lightness, and as consumers and recyclers, we like sturdiness and lightness.

We still want recycled material content. Product loyalty be damned.


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