will.i.am and Coca-Cola partnership launches new pilot program with non-profit Sustainable South Bronx to help local residents recycle

New York City, May 15, 2013 – EKOCYCLE, will.i.am and Coca-Cola have a message for South Bronx residents:  Let’s recycle together!  To help reach that goal, earlier today EKOCYCLE, represented by global music artist will.i.am and The Coca-Cola Company’s Chief Sustainability Officer Bea Perez, presented a $200,000 grant to Sustainable South Bronx. The funding will be used to set up a pilot program that will help local residents recycle their household waste.

Within New York’s five boroughs, the South Bronx neighborhood has the lowest recycling rate in New York City. Through EKOCYCLE’s grant to Sustainable South Bronx the new pilot program, which launches May 20, aims to help reverse that trend.

As recycling rates continue to climb nationwide, pockets of the country still face major challenges. Recycling levels in New York City are less than half the national average (15 percent vs. 34 percent).  For many neighborhood residents, recycling is complicated by multi-family dwellings or apartment buildings that do not proactively promote the practice.

“New York City is one of the greatest cities in the world, and can become an even better place to live by making it easier for residents to recycle,” said will.i.am. “By teaming up with Sustainable South Bronx and Highbridge area residents, EKOCYCLE’s mission is to help kick off this pilot recycling program and encourage residents do their part to contribute to a more sustainable city.”

EKOCYCLE – a partnership between will.i.am and Coca-Cola -- envisions a world with zero-waste.  To achieve this goal, EKOCYCLE believes in making an impact beyond the lifestyle products it creates from recycled materials.  Partnering with organizations that share values around recycling and recycling education is an important step in reaching that broader objective.

Sustainable South Bronx will use this funding to initiate a recycling pilot project. Through a combination of education, infrastructure and other activities, Sustainable South Bronx hopes to demonstrate how recycling can be dramatically increased in apartment buildings throughout the South Bronx. Sustainable South Bronx will work closely with the Highbridge Community Development Corporation, the non-profit organization located in the Highbridge section of the South Bronx, whose buildings will be the project’s focus.

“Residents of the South Bronx who live in large apartment buildings face numerous obstacles that make it difficult to recycle on a regular basis,” said Michael Brotchner, Executive Director of Sustainable South Bronx.  “This donation from EKOCYCLE to Sustainable South Bronx will help us kick-start recycling in a set of buildings that is representative of buildings throughout the community. We think that the residents of Highbridge will be very excited to participate in this pilot project, which aims to produce concrete findings on how recycling can best be promoted in the South Bronx.”

With a shared interest in making a positive impact on our world, The Coca-Cola Company and will.i.am have come together to create EKOCYCLE. By educating people about the role of recycling in their lives, EKOCYCLE hopes to inspire a global social movement around recycling and making more sustainable purchasing choices.

EKOCYCLE repurposes items such as plastic bottles for use as recycled content in fashion-forward lifestyle products through the help of today’s biggest trendsetters and brands. To further reinforce The Coca-Cola Company’s commitment to promoting recycling, the Coke® brand name – spelled backwards, “EKOC” – is embedded into the EKOCYCLE moniker.

“EKOCYCLE brings together strong brands and a cultural icon to engage people in an important sustainability initiative,” said Bea Perez, Chief Sustainability Officer, The Coca-Cola Company. “EKOCYCLE encourages recycling by innovatively transforming recycled materials into attractive products. It’s a journey that presents a win-win proposition.”

EKOCYCLE offers a full line of apparel and lifestyle items promoting environmental responsibility.  Among the products available are limited edition Levi’s 501® Waste<Less jeans, Beats Studio® headphones from Beats by Dr. Dre® , a selection of caps from New Era®, A limited-edition adidas Feel Good® Tee and boardshorts and T-shirts from RVCA.  To learn more about the EKOCYCLE brand initiative and shop for EKOCYCLE products visit EKOCYCLE.com. EKOCYCLE can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

About Sustainable South Bronx
Founded in 2001, Sustainable South Bronx is a non-profit organization that works to address economic and environmental issues in the South Bronx — and throughout New York City — through a combination of green job training, community greening programs, and social enterprise.

About will.i.am
A multi-faceted entertainer, creative innovator and philanthropist, will.i.am is best known for his work with The Black Eyed Peas, who have sold 33 million albums and 58 million singles worldwide. will.i.am’s new solo cd, #willpower on Interscope Records, was released in April , 2013. The first two singles include worldwide platinum hit “This is Love” featuring Eva Simons, and “Scream & Shout” featuring Britney Spears, which shot to number one on the iTunes single chart and to top three on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. As a producer, will.i.am has worked with some of the music industry’s biggest names including Michael Jackson, Rihanna, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears, David Guetta and film composer Hans Zimmer. will.i.am is the recipient of multiple Grammy Awards, a Latin Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, two NAACP Image Awards, the BMI President’s Award and a 2008 Webby Award. will.i.am's i.am angel foundation (www.iamangelfoundation.org) supports young people through programs focused on education, activities that build STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) skills and college scholarship assistance. The foundation also operates a mortgage relief program and financial literacy workshops.

About The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Led by Coca-Cola, the world's most valuable brand, our Company's portfolio features 16 billion-dollar brands including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia and Del Valle. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juices and juice drinks. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy our beverages at a rate of more than 1.8 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world's top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system associates. For more information, visit Coca-Cola Journey at www.coca-colacompany.com, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CocaColaCo or check out our blog, Coca-Cola Unbottled, at www.coca-colablog.com.