zero calories or zero waste?


by jill ettinger

“funny, the things you have the hardest time parting with are the things you need the least.” — bob dylan

gopal krishnan is coca-cola’s global director of marketing innovations. his hindi tainted queen’s english rolls off of his tongue like a smooth mango lassi. krishnan is explaining the changes underway at the largest non-alcoholic beverage manufacturer in the world. coca-cola is in los angeles at the opportunity green conference focused on sustainability to discuss their efforts in recycling, converting trucks to bio diesel, water conservation and integrating non-petroleum plastic via their new “plantbottle,” a cane sugar pet hybrid.

by 2020, coca-cola’s goal is to be off of petroleum bottles 100% and into their plantbottle. more than 2.5 billion plantbottles are already in circulation, which may seem like quite a lot, but that’s out of more than 3,300 beverage brands owned or invested in by coca-cola in more than 200 countries, and according to, more than 1.3 billion servings sold every day.

coca-cola is also actively investing in recycling plants, says krishnan, citing that “leaving it up to city governments is just not working.”  they are currently the world’s largest recycler and claim to collect 35% of the bottles they put out. this is an arresting number when multiple sources, including everpure, coca-cola’s own water filtration supplier, cites that over 60 million bottles a day—more than 80% of all plastic bottles—end up in incinerators or landfills instead of at recycling plants. recycling is big business for coca-cola, and with an 85% growth potential, it’s no surprise they’re pushing the single serve bottles in every market.

what’s incredibly evident, if not downright chilling, is just how smart coca-cola is. among countless ways they’re dominating markets, they’ve realized there’s really only one product ever worth selling, one that never goes out of fashion: you. their biggest moneymaker is consumer confidence and nowhere is this buoyancy more prominent than in the booming sustainability movement.

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One Response to “zero calories or zero waste?”

  1. Ha! Great article. Yeah Coke is trying to censor this new documentary on their bottling plants — a must-see! Also to see just how evil sugar truly is there’s a new viral vid from an epidemiology lecture. Dr Lustig — this is amazing new research on sugar — but this replacement of water by Coke already is known for the severe malnutrition it causes in places where drinking water is scare:

    Just exactly how Corporations treat people, especially those in the third world. In this feature length documentary, directors German Gutierrez and Carmen Garcia present a searing indictment of the Coca-Cola empire and its alleged kidnapping, torture and murder of union leaders trying to improve working conditions in Colombia, Guatemala and Turkey.

    The filmmakers follow labor rights lawyers Daniel Kovalik and Terry Collingsworth and an activist for the Stop Killer-Coke! campaign, Ray Rogers, as they attempt to hold the giant U.S. multinational beverage company accountable in this legal and human rights battle.

    Many union leaders at Coca-Cola’s Colombian bottling plants have been murdered. Hundreds of other Coke workers have been tortured, kidnapped and/or illegally detained by violent paramilitaries, often working closely with plant managements.

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