Bill Sheehan (bill_sheehan@mindspring.com)
Wed, 18 Nov 1998 02:28:03 -0500


I am a student at the University of Colorado in Boulder and
read an article in the local paper "Colorado Daily" entitled
"Recycling Doesn't Go Better With Coke" in which you
had a contribution. They printed your statement, "Coca-
Cola sells 20 million sodas every day in the United States
in plastic bottles without using a single ounce of recycled
plastic. As Coke uses more and more plastic, it is
undermining plastic recycling."

I am somewhat of an environmentalist, and when I first
read this article, I was angered that the US Coke industries
do not use recyled plastic, but their foreign counterparts do,
to a certain percentage. So I decided to do a little research
on it and see if Coke had anything to say. I visited their
website at www.thecoca-colacompany.com to find a whole
section on contributions to the environment. They stated
"Last year the Coca-Cola business system purchased more
than $2 billion of materials and supplies containing
recycled materials in the United States alone."

So, I am confused, are [you] just using this as a publicity
mark to attract people that they do use recycled products, or
are you trying to reduce a company that seems to be doing
a good job for the environment? I don't know who to side
with, whether to ban coca- cola and not purchase their
drinks and other merchandice until they go on with their
agreement to use at least 25% recycled plastics like they
agreed on in 1990 or to continue enjoying that refreshing
taste which is a small fraction of contributed money to
programs which Coke does benefit with money like
Environmental Education and The National Park
Foundation. Visit the website and respond to a confused


If this kid is right about Coke buying $2 billion
(billion???) in recycled content stuff in one year,
then we need to know that ... as the heat goes up
on them (great job everyone!!) they WILL respond,
and when they do, it will be with a sharp sword...
they play to win, and most of the public is wanting
them to be "good guys" and will give them the benefit
of the doubt ... I think Coke will play to that, and
this website data could be a hint as to where they
will go....


Coke sells over $18 billion worth of product
and packaging each year worldwide -- and the
packaging costs them more than the product
(pat franklin has figures). So I do not
think $2 billion for recycled materials is so
impressive -- even if it is only for the U.S.

I am surprised it is only $2 billion,
considering that they sell three times as
many aluminum cans (25 to 30 billion, with
high recycled content) as plastic bottles in
the U.S., and those cans are packed in
recycled boxboard. ..

I think that we just need to stay on message
here: Coke is not using recycled plastic as
they promised. The fact that soda bottles
are made into 50 different products -- but
not back into soda bottles -- should not let
them off the hook, any more than the fact
that they are buying recycled content
prodcuts elsewhere.

It is o.k. to acknowledge Coke's efforts
elsewhere -- but we should also point out
that they are moving rapidly from recycled
content aluminum and glass containers to
zero-recycled content plastic bottles.


[Your] interpretation of Coke's numbers is
right on. The soft drink industry uses about
65 billion aluminum cans each year. Given
Coke's 40%+ soft drink market share, it is
responsible for using about 26 billion cans
annually. Aluminum cans have an average
post-consumer recycled content of just over
50%, with another 20% of post-industrial
scrap, making a total recycled content of
more than 70% for this container.

Aluminum cans cost about 5-6 cents each
(heck, it costs Coke 2 cents per can for the
aluminum ingot alone, which does not include
the costs of rolling the ingot into sheet,
then cutting out and rolling the can). Thus,
Coke pays about between $1.3 billion and $1.6
billion annually just for the aluminum cans.
It also buys a little glass. And, all of the
corrugated shipping containers and the other
paper packaging has recycled content. It
does not surprise me that Coke is able to
claim it spends $2 billion in the U.S. alone
on recycled content packaging, because
aluminum cans will account for 60% to 80% of
that claim.

Colorado students should boycott Coke.


This is the point!

They are moving away from aluminum and glass
packages that are made with recycled materials,
and are now pushing a package
that could be but is now not
made with any recycled materials.

We recognize PETE's value
in sturdiness and lightness,
and as consumers and recyclers,
we like sturdiness and lightness.

We still want recycled material content.
Product loyalty be damned.