Coca-Cola Plans Huge Plant For Stepped-Up Recycling

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Coca-Cola said yesterday that it will open a massive recycling plant in Spartanburg, S.C., next year as part of its long-term goal to recycle or reuse all plastic bottles containing its products sold in the United States.

The company, which recaptures 10 percent of the plastic it puts into America's waste stream each year, aims to reuse or recycle 30 percent of its plastic by 2010.

Sandy Douglas, president of Coca-Cola North America, said at a news conference in the District yesterday that the new plant would produce 100 million pounds of recycled polyethylene terephthalate plastic each year, the equivalent of putting out nearly 2 billion 20-ounce bottles.

Douglas added that the company calculates that the plant's operations will prevent 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere in the next decade.

Jeff Seabright, Coca-Cola's vice president for water and environmental stewardship, said he could not predict when the company would reach its goal of reusing or recycling 100 percent of its plastic bottles. "We're at the beginning of what is a significant journey," he said, adding that the company will spend $60 million this year on its recycling efforts.

Kate Krebs, executive director of the National Recycling Coalition, praised Coca-Cola for demonstrating "world-class leadership" on recycling.

-- Juliet Eilperin

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