Next spring, when seniors from Atlanta Public Schools cross the stage to pick up their hard-earned diplomas and begin an exciting new chapter in their lives, the caps and gowns they’ll be wearing will represent a fresh start of their own.
PET plastic bottles collected this week – Earth Week – at
Coca-Cola hopes to collect 7,000 PET bottles this week – enough to outfit 200 graduates. The bottles’ journey to next year’s graduation will continue when they arrive at WestRock Recycling in Atlanta, where they will be sorted and cleaned before making their way to a Unifi processing plant in North Carolina. There, the bottles will be broken down with other bottles collected in the U.S. and turned into pellets that will return the PET to its virgin state. The bottles then will be “upcycled” and woven into polyester yarn fabric and shipped to a mill to be cut and sewn into caps and gowns.
Update (May 7): The drive collected approx. 8,000 bottles (21% above the program goal), enough to outfit 250 graduating seniors with caps and gowns.
“Graduation day is the most important day in the lives of our seniors. It exemplifies how we truly live our mission: graduating students prepared and ready for college and career,” said Dr. Meria Carstarphen, superintendent, Atlanta Public Schools (APS). “Many of our students have persevered through adversity, overcome challenges and beat the odds to earn their diploma and carve out a bright future As such, donning caps and gowns in their splendid school colors on graduation day means so much to them. That’s why we’re incredibly grateful to The
The Earth Week activation connects the company’s “World Without Waste” goal to collect and reuse the equivalent of a bottle or can for each one it sells with its longstanding commitments to education, inclusion and sustainable communities.
“We want to create a world without plastic waste, starting in our own backyard,” said Caren Pasquale Seckler, VP, Social Commitment,
Research shows that Americans want to do their part to help reduce waste, but are unsure about what can be recycled. Others believe that highly recyclable and valuable materials like plastic beverage bottles and aluminum cans eventually end up in a landfill, even if tossed in a recycling bin.
Through funding from The
“Recycling is an issue that cannot be solved at a national level,” explains Bruce Karas, vice president, environment and sustainability,
Coca-Cola will host a second campus recycling drive in late summer, and partner with the Atlanta Braves to recycle plastic bottles collected at SunTrust Park during the season.
“We will share learnings from Atlanta and the other six markets with our
Coca-Cola has a long history of supporting recycling infrastructure and programs across the U.S. Over the past decade, the company has helped place more than 1 million recycling bins in 2,000-plus communities and invested more than $12 million to support improved recycling infrastructures and educational outreach. Nearly all – 99% – of the company’s beverage packages in the U.S. are recyclable, and DASANI and smartwater bottled water contain up to 30% PlantBottle™ material that is fully recyclable and made with renewable, plant-based material.