Coca-Cola has invested over $250,000 in the Recycle & Win sustainability initiative which began in Charlotte, NC, in 2009. The program has been expanded into surrounding counties, with Harris Teeter, the city of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, Concord, Kannapolis and Harrisburg joining Coke to offer consumers the reward of a $50 Harris Teeter gift card for recycling.
The program includes a direct mail educational packet to all single-family households in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County (excluding Cornelius), Concord, Kannapolis and Harrisburg the week of June 17. The packet contains images highlighting which materials should go in recycling bins as well as a “Give it back” sticker; residents who place the sticker on their bin are eligible for a chance to win a $50 Harris Teeter gift card. The Coca-Cola Recycle & Win Recycling Patrol will be visiting area neighborhoods and plans to award a total of 676 $50 Harris Teeter Gift Cards throughout the six-month program.
Race fans staying at one of seven designated campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway can also win prizes for recycling by placing aluminum cans and plastic bottles in blue recycling bags provided at campground check-in. Fans “caught” by the Coca-Cola Recycling Patrol placing items in the recycling bags will be rewarded with $25 in Speedway Bucks good at any CMS concession stand.
Coke also recently announced that the Coca-Cola Foundation/Keep America Beautiful Bin Grant Program is awarding communities, schools, universities and organizations with grants of recycling bins, allowing these entities to either expand existing recycling programs or to make recycling available for the first time. The Bin Grant Program is awarding as many as 5,200 total bins across a variety of recipients, including Muskegon Community College in western Michigan, the City of Dayton, Ohio, and Timpanogos High School in Orem, Utah.
Another Coke recycling program has generated some heat in Chicago for the appearance of “greenwashing.” The program will see 50,000 Chicago homes receiving recycling bins from the soft drink giant; Coke products will be featured on the sides of the bins.
“The city says this is a win-win. Residents get support in recycling, the city gets subsidized bins. But at what price? Call me old fashioned, but I thought we still lived in a country where you had a right not to be used as a marketing tool by multinational companies,” writes Anna Lappe in a Huffington Post article. Lappe points out that, while Coke has been struggling against government efforts around the country to “protect public health” by restricting its sugary beverages, it gains positive PR with its large-scale environmentally friendly program.