SEATTLE – The Coca-Cola Company prioritized recycling efforts at the 50th anniversary 2018 Special Olympics USA Games with new “reverse vending machines.” From July 1-6 in Seattle, Special Olympic visitors could visit two recycling stations to deposit PET bottles or aluminum cans. Each recycled package gave a five-cent donation to Special Olympics Washington and prompted participants to text “give” to receive additional resources and information.
The reverse vending machines were designed to align with Coke’s “World Without Waste” vision to collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle or can it sell globally by 2030.
Coca-Cola said the project came together in a matter of weeks. “We worked very quickly to determine what was possible from a technology, logistics and transportation standpoint,” said Renee Bedford, Coca-Cola senior manager of container deposit governance. “We’re looking to move fast following this pilot and be iterative as possible to further drive sustainability across communities.”
The company is exploring opportunities to place the experiential machines in retail locations and at events such as music festivals, where attendees could recycle to receive additional perks like VIP upgrades.