GREEN

Coke Opening World's Largest Bottle-To-Bottle Recycling Plant

02/15/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Here's how it will work, as explained by Scott: A separate recycling company, led by Coca-Cola Enteprises, the world's biggest Coke bottler (don't ask me to explain the interconnected Coke system), will recover PET from a geographic area stretching from the northeast to Florida. The used PET bottles will come from its own manufacturing system, from government recycling centers and from high-profile venues like NASCAR events, college football stadiums and the House of Representatives. As the "official recycler" at the Democratic national convention in Denver, Coca Cola Recycling even collected waste from the arena known as the Pepsi Center. "All that material went back into our bottles--gleefully," Scott says.

Another source for feedstock is a Coke-backed startup called RecycleBank, which rewards consumers who recycle more and throw away less. VC firm Kleiner Perkins is also an investor in Recycle Bank.

Getting enough feedstock into the plant is crucial to its success. "That traditionally has been a major hurdle to recycling," Scott said.

The plant will produce a plastic chip, which will be sold to yet another Coke-backed company. Most of the chips will be refashioned into plastic bottles. Coke also makes T-shirts, tote bags, fleeces and other stuff from recycled PET, mostly as a way to encourage consumers to recycle and burnish its own image.

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