Coca-Cola is incentivizing recycling at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games through “reverse” vending machines that let fans give back in more ways than one.

Attendees can stop by the two recycling stations in Seattle to deposit PET bottles or aluminum cans. Each recycled package triggers a $.05 donation to Special Olympics Washington through the Coca-Cola Give platform, and consumers will be prompted to text “give” to 2653 to learn about additional opportunities to support their local communities.



The project came together in just a matter of weeks, with Coca-Cola North America’s Customer Sustainability and Digital Platforms & Innovation teams, collaborating with Special Olympics, Swire Coca-Cola USA and the New York-based equipment supplier, Atlas RVM Systems. “We worked very quickly to determine what was possible from a technology, logistics and transportation standpoint,” said Renee Bedford, senior manager, container deposit governance. “We’re looking to move fast following this pilot and be iterative as possible to further drive sustainability across communities.”

The pilot supports Coke’s “World Without Waste” vision to collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle or can it sells globally by 2030. The company is exploring opportunities to place the experiential machines in retail locations and at events such as music festivals, where fans could recycle to score perks like VIP upgrades.

“We want to show the athletes and their families, friends and fans how rewarding recycling and sustainability efforts can be for the broader community,” said Nicole Smith, sustainability manager, customer collaborations, Coca-Cola North America. “Being able to connect the Recycle and Give RVM was a huge win in connecting recycling with rewarding important causes like Special Olympics. This is our first pilot, but we are in discussions with some key customers on ways we can bring this to life in other spaces