Coca‑Cola recycles 10.5 million green bottles as part of London 2012 sustainability pledge

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Coca‑Cola's sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games sets an inspirational sustainability standard for future sporting events.

The Coca‑Cola System in Great Britain (‘Coca‑Cola’), has today announced that it has recycled 10.5 million bottles collected from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, returning them to GB shelves as part of new bottles. This will result in 42 million bottles, each containing 25% rPET. The success of this large‑scale bottle-to-bottle recycling process is part of Coca-Cola’s commitment to helping the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) deliver the most sustainable Games possible.

The opening of Continuum Recycling, Coca‑Cola Enterprises’ new£15 million joint venture recycling facility with ECO Plastics, allowed over 10.5 million clear plastic bottles from London 2012 venues to be recycled within just six weeks of disposal, saving an estimated 310 tonnes of carbon.

During the Games, Coca‑Cola sought to educate people about the speed with which a plastic bottle could now be turned into a brand new bottle in this country. Nielsen research commissioned by Coca‑Cola shows that 70 per cent of visitors surveyed at London 2012 said, on learning this, they would now be more likely to recycle at home.

The results of Coca‑Cola’s most sustainable sponsorship activation to date have been published in a new report authored by Good Business, a leading sustainability strategy consultancy. It sets out a number of world‑class sustainability initiatives across waste, climate change and health & wellness, delivered in partnership with organisations including WWF and WRAP, that Coca‑Cola hopes will inspire future events organisers.

Key sustainability achievements delivered as part of Coca‑Cola’s sponsorship of London 2012 include:

  • Coca‑Cola worked with LOCOG and WRAP to design an innovative waste system that looked at the shape, style and position of recycling bins at London 2012 venues, a model which will be passed to the organisers of future large events.
  • At all London 2012 venues, Coca‑Cola products were served in 100% recyclable plastic bottles that contained up to 25% recycled content (rPET).
  • Investment in Continuum Recycling, a state‑of‑the‑art low carbon warehouse facility, and 14 new biogas trucks that will be incorporated into Coca-Cola’s supply chain.
  • Coca‑Cola is the first major corporation to be independently verified as applying the new ISO standard for sustainable event management.
  • Adopting pioneering carbon footprinting methodology enabled Coca‑Cola to cut the carbon footprint of its distribution system at the Games by a third.

Alongside initiatives that delivered positive benefits for the environment, Coca‑Cola used London 2012 to inspire people to develop more active and healthy lifestyles. Coca‑Cola’s three‑year partnership with national grassroots sports charity StreetGames has brought sport to 110,000 young people around the UK. Coca-Cola has also been a supporter of Special Olympics GB for 34 years and to coincide with London 2012, helped the expansion of the Unified Sports programme, which brings together those with and without intellectual disabilities to play sport on the same team.

Coca‑Cola offered consumers the widest range of drinks ever provided at an Olympic and Paralympic Games. More than 70% of the drinks Coca‑Cola served at London 2012 venues were juice, water or low‑or-no calorie options and more than 95% were manufactured in GB. Coca-Cola’s menu boards at London 2012 venues carried Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) information – as did all bottles of sparkling soft drinks, Powerade and Glaceau Vitaminwater – enabling visitors to make informed choices about what they drank.

Jon Woods, General Manager, Coca‑Cola Great Britain & Ireland, said:
“As the longest, continuous sponsor of the Olympic Movement, we knew that our sponsorship provided a one‑off opportunity to accelerate many of our sustainability initiatives here in Great Britain. But we wanted to go even further than that and use London 2012 to encourage our suppliers, our customers and the people who enjoy our products to join us in adopting more sustainable behaviours.
“Investing in sporting opportunities for young people, offering the widest range of drinks we have ever offered at an Olympic and Paralympic Games and developing a best practice waste and recycling system all contributed to making London 2012 our most sustainable sponsorship activation ever. We’ve achieved a great deal with our partners and the benefits from these investments will continue to make a positive difference to our consumers and the communities we serve long after the Games are over.”

Simon Baldry, Managing Director of Coca‑Cola Enterprises in GB, said: “We always saw the Games as an important catalyst for our ongoing efforts to build a low carbon, zero waste business here in GB. I’m delighted that through Continuum Recycling we have been able to recycle enough material from Olympic venues to use in 42 million new PET bottles within just six weeks of people throwing them away. This is an important milestone and shows we are serious about setting the industry standard for sustainable packaging in this country.”

David Nussbaum, CEO, WWF UK, said: “The work Coca‑Cola has undertaken to reduce its impact at the Games, and the lengths to which it has gone to use the power of its brand to engage others and ensure its actions have a lasting impact is to be commended and sets a standard for future corporate sponsorship of international events.”

For further information, please contact Blue Rubicon on behalf of Coca‑Cola:
Sophie Barnard, Katie Gosden: 020 7260 2700 cocacolaolympicpress@bluerubicon.comor

Photography and a copy of Coca‑Cola’s Sustainable Games Strategy are available on request.

Notes to editors

About Coca‑Cola and the Olympic Movement
The Coca‑Cola Company has been continuously associated with the Olympic Games since 1928 ‑ longer than any other corporate sponsor of the Olympic Movement. The Company works with National Olympic Committees in more than 200 countries to help athletes train and compete. Products of The Coca‑Cola Company refresh athletes, volunteers, officials and spectators during the Olympic Games. The Coca-Cola Company is the exclusive non-alcoholic beverage provider to the Olympic Games through to 2020.

Working with LOCOG to deliver a sustainable Games
The Coca‑Cola System in GB committed to helping LOCOG deliver the most sustainable Games possible. Coca‑Cola Enterprises makes, sells and distributes The Coca‑Cola Company’s portfolio in Great Britain, and the two organisations worked closely together to target new levels of sustainable achievement at London 2012.

Survey of London 2012 visitors
Nielsen UK surveyed 222 visitors to the Olympic Park and Excel Centre at London 2012 on behalf of Coca‑Cola.

Highlights from Coca‑Cola’s Sustainable Games Strategy:

Reducing and compensating for all carbon emissions

  • Coca‑Cola worked with Best Foot Forward, the carbon footprinting specialists selected by LOCOG to measure the carbon footprint of its London 2012 programme, using a new methodology based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol that was especially adapted for large events.
  • Coca‑Cola went a step further by convening a Carbon Footprint Technical Advisory Group, with representatives from WWF, Defra, Oxford University, the Sustainable Restaurant Association and Sustainable Events Ltd.
  • Investment in a state‑of‑the‑art low carbon warehouse, only HFC-free coolers with LED lighting and 14 biogas trucks helped to cut the carbon footprint of Coca-Cola’s distribution system at London 2012 by a third.
  • Investment in 14 new biogas trucks will cut the Coca‑Cola distribution system carbon footprint by an estimated 1,500 tonnes over their lifetime.
  • Coca‑Cola procured a low‑carbon fleet of vehicles for its activation of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.

Helping to deliver a zero waste Games

  • At all London 2012 venues, packaged Coca‑Cola products were served in 100% recyclable plastic bottles which contained up to 25% recycled content (rPET).
  • In addition, Coca‑Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero drinks were served in PlantBottle packaging containing up to 22.5% plant based material.
  • Coca‑Cola committed to recycling all clear PET plastic disposed of in the Olympic Park, turning it back into new bottles within six weeks.
  • Coca‑Cola Enterprises worked with ECO Plastics to fast‑track plans for a major new plastics recycling facility. Continuum Recycling opened in May 2012, becoming the largest PET plastic recycling facility in Western Europe. The plant has more than doubled current production of food grade recycled PET plastic in the UK.

Supporting consumers to recycle

  • Coca‑Cola worked with LOCOG and WRAP to design and test a clear, easy‑to‑use waste system that it hopes will become the blueprint for all major UK sporting events.
  • The system comprised of three colour‑coded bins. The green recycling bin and orange compostables bin were twice the size of the black general waste bin, a nudge to the public to encourage them to think about recycling first.
  • Coca‑Cola placed 260 new recycling bins in locations around the centre of London. On Oxford Street alone, these are now collecting over a tonne of recyclable material every day.

Using the scale of our brand to go further

  • Coca‑Cola managed its entire London 2012 programme according to the new British Standard for Sustainable Event Management, the ISO 2012‑1.
  • Coca‑Cola asked all its suppliers to create processes for minimising waste and maximising recycled content, devising a Sustainability Guide to support and advise them.
  • Wherever possible, Coca‑Cola used recycled materials in its branded products, from staff uniforms to building materials and licensed merchandise.
  • As a Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, Coca‑Cola worked with LOCOG to establish a sustainability strategy which included commitments to train all staff in sustainability, reduce waste, reduce the carbon footprint of the relay and encourage spectators to recycle.

Promoting health & wellness

  • At the 1948 Olympic Games, Coca‑Cola offered only one drink in one size ‑ Coca‑Cola. At London 2012, it provided the widest range of drinks ever offered at an Olympic and Paralympic Games. 73% of the millions of drinks Coca-Cola served were low and no-calorie options, water, or juices and smoothies.
  • 95% of the drinks sold at London 2012 were made in the UK, supporting jobs and skills and delivering broader economic benefits to Coca‑Cola’s 4,500 employees, their families and their communities.
  • Schweppes Abbey Well natural mineral water ‑ from a single naturally protected source in Morpeth, Northumberland ‑ was a core part of Coca‑Cola’s product portfolio at the Games.

Championing grassroots sport.

  • Coca‑Cola entered into a three‑year partnership with national charity StreetGames, allowing it to grow its network of projects to bring sport to 110,000 young people in the most deprived areas of the country.
  • Activity includes mass participation festivals and 300 local neighbourhood festivals, as well as the first ever StreetGames Sport for Change Training Academy, which is preparing tutors to deliver 11 new training courses to around 6,000 sports coaches.
  • Coca‑Cola used its involvement to connect elite athletes with StreetGames projects in their local area. Athletes could apply for a StreetGames bursary funded by the Coca‑Cola Youth Foundation to set up and champion initiatives that will benefit the projects in their community.
  • 65 StreetGames participants were given a once in a lifetime opportunity to carry the Olympic Flame in the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.
  • Coca‑Cola gave 49 young people involved in StreetGames the opportunity to learn new and transferable skills and get closer to the Games by working with our venue operations and showcasing teams at London 2012.
  • Coca‑Cola has been a supporter of Special Olympics GB since 1978. The charity provides year‑round sports training and competition for young people and adults with intellectual disabilities.
  • Coca‑Cola has helped with the expansion of the Special Olympics Unified Sports programme which brings those with and without intellectually disabilities together to play sport on the same teams, fostering inclusion and friendship.

Celebrating the best of the nation’s youth

  • Coca‑Cola used its sponsorship of London 2012 to recognise and reward young people who use their passions in areas like sport and physical activity, music and dance, and the community and the environment ‑ Coca‑Cola’s Future Flames.
  • As a Presenting Partner of the Olympic Torch Relay, Coca‑Cola gave over 1000 inspirational young people a once in a lifetime opportunity to carry the Olympic Flame.
  • Coca‑Cola’s pavilion at the Olympic Park, the Coca‑Cola Beatbox, was designed by two emerging architects and brought to life by over 300 young performers from London boroughs.

Leaving a social legacy

  • Coca‑Cola has committed to measuring the social value of its sponsorship of London 2012 alongside any commercial impacts.
  • Leading think tank Demos is piloting Coca‑Cola’s sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games through a new measurement tool.
  • This is the first time a corporate sponsor has sought to identify a tool to comprehensively measure the social impact of sponsorship.

About Coca‑Cola Enterprises Ltd
Coca‑Cola Enterprises, Inc. (CCE) is the third‑largest Coca‑Cola bottler in the world. CCE is the sole licensed bottler for products of The Coca-Cola Company in Belgium, continental France, Great Britain, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.
In Great Britain, Coca‑Cola Enterprises Ltd employs around 4,500 people across England, Scotland and Wales at manufacturing sites, regional offices and depots.
CCE is committed to minimising the environmental impact of its products and operations, with a particular focus on sustainable packaging and recycling, water stewardship, and energy and climate protection.
For further information please visit

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