Helping to Turn the Tide on Trash through the International Coastal Cleanup

Trash is one of the most widespread pollution problems facing our ocean and waterways. Our ocean currently serves as an end of the pipeline for products that are not recycled, repurposed or properly discarded. The glut of items polluting our seas kills wildlife, chokes economies and impacts human health. Working with Ocean Conservancy, Coca-Cola helped launch the Trash Free Seas Alliance in 2011. With a commitment to drive action and foster innovation, Coca-Cola and Alliance members are collaborating to understand the causes of marine debris and are working to eliminate ocean trash.

At our core, Coca-Cola is committed to an aspiration of zero waste. We believe that by recovering more packaging, less will be discarded as litter, which in turn will help reduce the likelihood of discarded packaging ending up in streams, rivers and oceans. We play an important role in this effort by ensuring that the majority of our packaging is recyclable, and we’ve announced a goal to achieve a recovery rate of 75 percent in developed markets of the equivalent beverage bottles and cans we introduce into the market by 2020.

As a company, we intend to achieve this goal by helping improve local collection and recycling programs, raising consumer awareness and supporting the adoption of improved waste management practices. Thousands of Coca-Cola system associates also pitch in by participating in the Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Coastal Cleanup.

Organized by Ocean Conservancy, the International Coastal Cleanup inspires global action to remove trash and debris from waterways and, in the process, helps to change the behaviors that allowed these items to reach the water in the first place. The organization stresses the idea that what falls from human hands can be prevented by human hands -- and recorded for the benefit of our planet. Coca-Cola associates, along with their friends and families, serve as citizen scientists by recording every item collected. Ocean Conservancy then uses the data to produce the world's only annual country-by-country, state-by-state index of the marine debris problem. The results help drive Coca-Cola sustainability programs and solutions to improve ocean and waterway health globally.

In 2014 alone, more than 7,000 Coca-Cola ambassadors joined the effort. Together, we collected over 150,000 pounds of trash in the world’s largest waterway cleanup.

Learn more about what we are doing to help clean our planet’s oceans and waterways and our partnership with Ocean Conservancy by clicking on the following links:

Fun Facts

    • In 2014, the Cleanup picked up more than 16 million pounds of trash (along nearly 21,500 miles of coastline) from oceans and waterways throughout the world.
    • Enough rope was collected in 2014 to pull nearly 6,000 water skiers!
    • The weight of all the grocery bags found in 2014 was heavier than that of three manatees.