AHH Coca-Cola: Scientists Had It All Wrong. Polar Bears Are Actually Happy! Thanks Coke.

Ice caps, schmice caps!!! I just watched the video above of our polar neighbors full of joy and basking in Coke and I realized how much science always gets in the way of some good marketing. The “Polar Party on AHH.com” is one part of Coca-Cola’s “The Ahh Effect” advertising campaign and the Coke pounding polar bear plays a major role in it. Bonus: you can make your own happy Coke swilling polar bear video too! [Laughing Squid]


PepsiCo Dream Machine Recycling Kiosks

PepsiCo Dream MachineFrom the Wall Street Journal article PepsiCo Plans Recycling Initiative.

From one beverage to another – PepsiCo, partnering with Waste Management, is planning on installing 3000 recycling kiosks around the country to encourage consumers to recycle more cans and PET plastic bottles. PepsiCo is calling them “Dream Machines” and they are rewarding recyclers through a points system that can be applied toward movie tickets, travel or as discounts for Pepsi products. Currently in the US, only 34% of aluminum and 25% of the PET plastic bottles are being recycled and PepsiCo hopes to increase that number with their Dream Machines. The machines can hold 300 cans/plastic bottles and when they are full, an alert is sent to a Waste Management employee responsible for emptying the machine. Crushing does not occur at the machine because in product tests, consumers were put off by the noise. Here is how they work [WSJ]:

The machine itself is like a vending machine in reverse. A video screen plays advertising and informational videos, which are updated wirelessly and tailored to each site. A consumer first touches the screen and follows instructions, either to swipe a key fob to track rewards points or to defer registration for later, if at all.

PepsiCo Dream Machine Nightmare

A PepsiCo Dream Machine Nightmare

As much as Jubbling wants these great ideas to be the solution, they almost seem to be more of the problem. We felt the same way about ecoATM. It seems like companies are throwing grenades at a problem when they probably only need bb’s. PepsiCo’s Dream Machines are things of beauty and obviously a lot of thought was put into making them work but their limitations – only holding 300 cans or plastic bottles – and the cost of raw materials to build alone seems to outweigh their usefulness.

Alternatives? I keep imagining a person in a cardboard box paying you a compliment every time you recycle a can or PET bottle but that’s not going to be enough. I think the best method to increase recycling rates is for PepsiCo, Coke and the American Bottlers Association to support Bottle Bills in every state. Oregon was one of the first states to pass a Bottle bill and it passed in 1971 despite opposition from bottlers and beverage container manufacturers. It was expanded to cover water bottles in January 2009. With their Bottle bill in place, every beverage container leaving an Oregon grocery store or vending machine has a fee added to it that covers the refund and processing costs of recycled beverage containers. According to Wikipedia, recycle rates in states with Bottle bills is around 90% vs 34% in states without, and the collection sites are already in place – grocery stores.

I hope PepsiCo proves me wrong with their new Dream Machine kiosks. It’s just a feeling that companies like PepsiCo should look at the problem and find their next solution as if they had no resources; try to be truly grassroots. Maybe they’ll discover that the incentive to recycle occurs when you buy your soda and at the very least, maybe they’ll realize that another kiosk is not the solution and they’ll start supporting Bottle bills.

Useful links:
Bottle Bill Resource Guide
Container Recycling Institute
Keep America Beautiful


Coke’s New PlantBottle

Coca Cola Unveils New PlantBottleJust in time for the winter Olympics in Vancouver, Coke is releasing its new “PlantBottle” which is comprised of 30% plant based materials (sugar cane) and 70% petroleum based. After testing the new PlantBottle last month in Copenhagen and in other select markets, Coke now plans on packaging all of its products in the new PlantBottle by the end of 2010. In addition to changing to renewable materials, Coke’s new plastic bottles create 25% less carbon during the manufacturing process. This according to a Coke commissioned study performed by the London Imperial College.

The Clean Air Council estimates that 21.9 billion plastic bottles are thrown out every year. So will the new PlantBottle make a difference? I’m sure slightly because Coca Cola is responsible for producing over 2 billion plastic bottles per year. We have to remember that this is just a start and one can hope that the new packaging and accompanying advertising campaign will encourage drinkers of Coke products to recycle their bottles more than they have been.

It would be easy for Jubbling to bash Coke and label this whole thing as greenwashing but it is a step in the right direction and should be encouraged. Now, if Coca Cola could only get the sugar cane used in manufacturing the bottles to somehow leach into the product… then they might have something people would want to drink more of.


Coca-Cola partners with Clemson to step up game-day recycling

From the Clemson University Newsroom.

CLEMSON – Coca-Cola is partnering with Clemson University’s athletic department and the Solid Green campaign to increase recycling on home football game days.

Fans attending the games will notice new recycling bins, provided by Coca-Cola, in each parking lot. Coca-Cola has donated 100 of the bins to the athletic department to be placed in parking lots around campus. The bins themselves are also recycled: each bin is a used syrup container, refurbished by Coca-Cola and converted into a recycling bin.

Some lucky fans may be “caught green-handed” using the bins. Before each game, a camera crew will roam parking lots looking for fans putting cans or bottles in the recycling bins. One fan will be selected to appear on the video screen during the game and will receive a $100 gift card from Coca-Cola.

“Coca-Cola is thrilled to work with Solid Green and Clemson athletics to create a fun recycling campaign for fans. It is our goal to recycle or reuse 100 percent of the bottles and cans used for beverages in the U.S. We hope Tiger fans remember that when they’re done, that bottle is not. It can be recycled,” said Heather Hucks, Coca-Cola senior sponsorship manager for colleges and universities.

Clemson students also will be doing their part to help with the effort. Student organizations will collect cans and bottles from the bins each game day and transport them to the university’s recycling center.

“It is great to see this kind of collaboration happening at Clemson to help enhance our recycling efforts. We appreciate the support of Coca-Cola and the athletic department to make Clemson a greener campus,” said Solid Green chairwoman Rose Ellen Davis-Gross.

Jubbling take: Jubbling: 100%. The chance that one “lucky” underage fan might get flashed on the screen dropping a can in the recycle bin: 95.2%. Chance that it’s a Coke or soda can: 0%