Blog : Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England a Green Giant in the Industry

By Craig | Jul 30, 2014 | in

You've probably seen your name on a bottle of Coca-Cola this summer. It's part of the company's latest campaign to engage friends and family to share their product. The campaign certainly has people passing one another a refreshing drink, but where does the bottle end up once its empty?

Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England (CCNNE) has an integrated method of recycling, water conservation and reducing auto emissions that the public may not know about.

CCNNE recycles 6.5 million pounds of PET and 4.5 million pounds of aluminum annually. Part of the recycling process for the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) includes collecting the empty bottles into 600-700 pound bales which are sold to companies who reclaim the PET. The bales are broken apart, color sorted and chopped into small flakes and washed. These flakes are then resold to make automotive parts, textiles and fleece jackets for active outdoor companies like The North Face and Patagonia. Aluminum bales, made up of recycled cans, are smelted into 70 pound ingots to be turned into new cans which are purchased by CCNNE, restarting the recycling process.

And CCNNE does more with their sustainability initiatives than recycle bottles and cans, they also recycle light bulbs, oils, metal and shrink wrap, toner cartridges, cardboard, paper, old vending equipment, waste oil and antifreeze.

The company's Londonderry Production Center also reuses and recycles roughly 30 million gallons of water annually, using it for cooling, irrigation, washing shells and pallets, and container rinsing. The facility converted its bottling line conveyors to a waterless lubricant, saving water and minimizing water rinses at the filters. Working with a regional network of distributors throughout New England, CCNNE has also taken a serious look at their automotive emissions. To combat this issue, the company has purchased 185 hybrid vehicles, each with an estimated 30 MPG, since 2009 and continues to invest in more eco-concious vehicles. CCNNE has reduced their fleet by 10 percent and has reduced the miles driven by one million over the last five years.

While implementing these initiatives has been crucial to CCNNE's success in reducing their impact on the environment, it has also been a part of their interaction with the community. CCNNE actively educates other businesses, schools and individual consumers not just on Coca-Cola's committment to the environment, but also how the community can be effective with their own efforts. Part of that process is done by spreading the word in person. To do that, CCNNE's Sustainability Manager, Ray Dube, gives live demonstrations throughout New England about the truths of recycling plastics and aluminum, where that waste ends up and why its important for everyone to do their share.

To learn about these sustainability initiatives and more, watch the video below!