[GRRN] Coke's Waste Goes Beyond Bottles

Bill Sheehan (zerowaste@grrn.org)
Thu, 4 Feb 1999 17:02:02 -0500

The following two messages are from the:WASTE PREVENTION
FORUM -- A project of the National Waste Prevention Coalition
[Contact: Tom Watson Tom.Watson@METROKC.GOV]

>From Jeffrey Smedberg, County of Santa Cruz (CA) Public Works:

We recently received at home, by bulk rate mail, an offer for a pre-approved
Titanium Master Card and a free gift of 2 cases of Coke. When the mailer -
a folded card - is opened, it plays the fizzing sound of a soda can being
opened (some reviewers thought it sounded more like a toilet flushing). The
sound plays every time the card is opened, by means of an electronic
mechanism (2" x 2" x 1/4" thick) consisting of a circuit board, a speaker,
and powered by three alkaline button batteries.

We are wondering if Coca-Cola and Master Card helped the paper mills upgrade
their contaminant-sorting machinery, or if we now need to re-educate
residents, who we just taught to recycle junk mail, to take it to the
Household Hazardous Waste collection site instead.

We nominate this Coke and Master Card mailing for the Most Wasteful Mailer
of the Year Award. Coca-Cola was a previous winner of this prestigious
national award in 1995 by the National Waste Prevention Coalition.

E-mail: DPW179@SCRUZA.cahwnet.gov

Note from Tom: The National Waste Prevention Coalition has presented its
Junk Mail Awards (for Most Wasteful Mailers and Most Responsible Mailers)
only once, in 1995. If we ever decide to present the awards again, this
will definitely be a contender! [see award below]

>From Charlotte Becker, Association of Oregon Recyclers (AOR), Portland, OR,
responding to the 1/29/99 posting describing a mailing from Coca-Cola and

I, too, received the Coke/Titanium Master Card application. It did sound
like a toilet. This is exactly where some of these new ad ideas come from. I
decided to stop writing Cheers and Jeers in my AOR newsletter, because Coke
would have gotten the jeers month after month. I carefully disassembled the
Master Card ad, removed the batteries and saved them for use in devices that
use that size battery. I recycled what I could of the paper.

If Coke were to spend its dollars on recycling programs and new technology
to make bottles from recycled resin, instead of mailings that ultimately end
up in the trash, we'd be seeing some world-class programs from the makers of
Coca Cola. If those little cards cost around $1 each, including mailing, and
they sent them to 4% of the population, that would be around $10 million.
Right? I've got some great ideas for ways to beef up waste prevention and
recycling programs for a lot less. We could recycle old jingles with a whole
new spin... I'd like to teach the world to recycle... A Coke and a bin...
Waste Prevention goes better with Coke... the possibilities are endless.

E-mail: beckerprojects@mindspring.com

The National Waste Prevention Coalition presented its Junk Mail Awards
(for Most Wasteful Mailers and Most Responsible Mailers) to Coke in 1995.
Here's what the press release said:

For Worst Single Example of Wasteful Direct Mail, the winner is:
Coca-Cola, of Atlanta, Georgia. In targeted mailings to young people in
certain parts of the country, Coca-Cola sent out samples of its new
20-ounce-size plastic bottle. The bottle, which was empty, was inside a
paperboard box. Also inside the box was a plastic key chain and a flyer.
The entire package was wrapped in heavy plastic. Total weight of the
package was a quarter pound.