Coke Solutions

Partnerships at Core of Coca-Cola® Recycling Efforts

Stewardship and consumer expectations drive programs.

The Coca-Cola Company’s overall sustainability strategy includes a substantial focus on recycling, from providing curbside bins and carts on campuses, to educating and inspiring consumers. The Coca-Cola Company has expanded recycling awareness through key partnerships with three key nonprofit organizations. According to Sarah Dearman, sustainable packaging program director for Coca-Cola North America, the nonprofits help to drive Coke’s expanding recycling efforts. “Increasing recycling is important to us, but it’s challenging,” Dearman says. “We know that we have to work together, and what better way to do that than through nonprofit partnerships.” 

The Closed Loop Fund
Did you know that cities spend $5 billion annually to transport waste to landfills?¹ Of that waste, $11 billion is material that could be used to make new packages and products.¹ The Closed Loop Fund has invested more than $100 million on the infrastructure of recycling products and packaging, from the machines used in materials recovery facilities to the trucks that haul there. The partnership between The Closed Loop Fund and The Coca-Cola Company is a natural fit, according to Dearman, and it fulfills a key objective. “We want to keep valuable packaging out of landfills,” Dearman says. “The goal is two-fold: we want our packaging back so we can reuse it, but we also want to keep it out of the landfill because it’s the right thing to do for the environment.” 

The Recycling Partnership
The Recycling Partnership, a national recycling nonprofit formed in 2003, focuses on improving residential recycling. According to the organization’s website,, more than half of U.S. communities have access to recycling programs, yet participation averages at less than 50%.² “Recycling is one of the first things that people think of when they want to do their part to help the environment,” Dearman says. “What’s more, people expect Coca-Cola to help make sure our packages are recycled, so we know it’s important.” The Recycling Partnership has invested $21 million in recycling programs and has reached more than 2 million households by providing 285,000 recycling carts. 

Keep America Beautiful 
With a focus on ending litter and improving recycling efforts, Keep America Beautiful works to improve communities though initiatives like a bin grant program funded by The Coca-Cola Foundation that distributed 45,000 recycling bins throughout the United States from 2007-2015. The Coca-Cola Company also supports Keep America Beautiful’s RecycleMania Tournament, which was activated on 350 college and university campuses and resulted in the collection of 79.3 million pounds of recyclables in 2016. 

Moving Forward
According to Dearman, with these key partnerships in place, The Coca-Cola Company is in a position to further grow its recycling efforts in the years to come. “We would like to see even more companies and partners join these organizations so they have more resources and an even bigger reach to grow recycling.” 

Consumer expectations, coupled with a growing awareness of the benefits of recycling, will continue to make sustainability an important factor for Coca-Cola customers in both foodservice and convenience retail. 

To learn more about how you can partner with The Coca-Cola Company on recycling programs, contact your local representative today. 

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¹ The Closed Loop Fund,
² The Recycling Partnership,                        
³ Recycle Mania Tournament,            

Published: December 16, 2016