Coca-Cola Lands Deal with Chicago for Branded Recycling Containers

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Coca-Cola and its various beverage logos may seem ubiquitous to most urban dwellers but Chicagoans are about to get an imagery overdose of Coke-owned products on an odd location: recycling can lids. 

In a timely bit of news for Earth Day the week, the Coca-Cola Foundation has agreed to grant $2.59 million to the city of Chicago to provide 50,000 blue recycling carts so that the city’s houses and smaller apartment buildings have access to recycling, the Chicago Tribune reports.

In return, Coke gets to plaster its logo and the logo of all of its many brands onto the can lids. This means that 25,000 carts/Coke ads will be sitting in front of people’s homes by year’s end. The rest will come over the next five years as carts get replaced.

“We see this as an incredible way to be able to give back to Chicago, give back to the United States, and to be able to keep our pledge, which is to be sure that every bottle, plastic bottle, can in which our products are packaged and sold will find its way back into a recycling bin,” said Sonya Soutus, a Coca-Cola marketing exec, the newspaper reports.[more]

This partnership couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that one of Coke’s board members is former Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, could it? The Daley family, of course, still has plenty of clout in the Windy City since Daley’s dad was also mayor there for many years.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says no. Coke has been giving Chicago and its 2.9 million residents extra attention since last October when the city announced that it had struck a deal with beverage giants to put caloric info on its vending machines in city buildings rather than limiting the size that consumers could purchase, as NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has suggested. A month later, the city and Coke announced that the soda maker “would contribute $3 million to fund Chicago Park District nutrition classes to fight obesity and diabetes as well as exercise classes run by armed forces veterans,” the Trib reports.

Meanwhile, the Coca-Cola Foundation was handing out cash in other locations on Monday in order to help celebrate Earth Day: $250,000 was shelled out to the Bonneville Environmental Foundation in Utah to help watershed conservation efforts and $25,000 went to the Save the Harbor/Save the Bay organization in Massachusetts to help fund environmental education programming for more than 10,000 young people, according to a release.

Along with that, Coke sponsored an Earth Jam Fashion Show in Columbus, Ohio; a willow-tree-planting event in Colorado; and a park cleanup in Houston, among other things. That’s one way to help offset the fact that Americans generated nearly 14 million tons of plastic waste in containers and packaging in 2010, according to the EPA. 

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