Coca-Cola Embarks Next Phase of 'Greening' the National Mall
A year after investing more than $1 million in the National Park System together with the National Parks Service, National Park Foundation and the Trust for the National Mall, Coca-Cola has helped introduce the first sustainable recycling program to help keep the National Mall clean and green by donating 320 recycling bins and recycling trailers for special events.
The bins will be a permanent feature the National Mall, which extends from the Capitol Reflecting Pool to the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. Coca-Cola is giving two recycling trailers and 400 more bins to be used during special events held on the expanse.
"At Coca-Cola, caring for our environment is part of our heritage, and we are committed to preserving and protecting it," noted Steve Cahillane, president and CEO at Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Refreshments. "We have supported our national parks for decades. There's no better place to provide a visible reminder of recycling than on the National Mall, which hosts more than 25 million visits annually. Recycling is one of the easiest ways to help keep our national treasure pristine."
The launch took place at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial during a Trust for the National Mall event where Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar signed the National Mall Plan. The signing was the culmination of a planning effort that included the participation more than 30,000 Americans throughout the United States.
Along with a hard-hat tour of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the event included a demonstration by Coca-Cola of its bottle-to-bottle recycling system. Area students also traversed the National Mall, urging visitors to recycle and explaining to them how recycling benefits communities.
"The National Mall is where we come to learn about our country, our leaders, and to celebrate our shared values of equality and freedom,” said Salazar. “These programs will help to ensure this special park is capable of upholding these ideals and principles for generations to come."
According to Peggy O'Dell, regional director, National Capital Region at the National Parks Service: “The sustainable recycling program on the National Mall is one which we hope to replicate in other parks across the country, and thanks to Coca-Cola's support, we've diverted 60 tons of material from landfills in the first three months of the program.”
The brand’s other sustainable programs in the Washington area include the introduction of the first ever climate-friendly beverage coolers on Capitol Hill last year and the deployment of the largest hybrid delivery truck fleet, which uses about 30 percent less fuel and produces around 30 percent fewer emissions than standard trucks. Additionally, Coca-Cola has worked on recycling programs with local sports teams, facilities such as the Verizon Center and Nationals Park, and Keep America Beautiful, which supports RecycleMania, a competition and grant program that helps colleges and universities develop recycling programs.
In other parts of the country, Coca-Cola last year opened the world's largest bottle-to-bottle recycling facility in Spartanburg, S.C., which can produce 100 million pounds of recycled PET plastic each year -- the equivalent of nearly 2 billion 20-ounce Coca-Cola bottles – and introduced PlantBottle packaging, which uses up to 30 percent plant-based materials like sugar cane and molasses.
“At Coca-Cola, we are working hard to ensure that our packaging is no longer seen as waste, but as a valuable resource for future use," observed Cahillane. "From our commitment to designing and developing more sustainable packaging to our support for recycling at national parks, we are demonstrating our innovative approach to doing business in an environmentally responsible way.”