Blog : Green Story: Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England

By Craig | Mar 11, 2015 | in

Every Green Alliance business undergoes a Sustainability Certification. This certification serves to show everyone what each business has accomplished and what they are still working to accomplish when it comes to green business practices. The final part of the evaluation is the Green Story. Check out Coca-Cola Bottling Company's Green Story below.

The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England, a franchise of its parent company, is leading the way in sustainable practices for a large-scale manufacturing and distribution facility. Based in Londonderry, New Hampshire, CCNNE is proud of their sustainable efforts to reduce the company's carbon footprint in the creation and delivery of its products.

In an industry that has been around for over 100 years, and 40 plus years working out of their New Hampshire location, CCNNE wants to stay relevant long into the future. It is one of the many reasons CCNNE takes their sustainability initiatives seriously, with long-term focused projects such as switching from wooden pallets to reusable plastic pallets.

"It's more of an investment up front, but it pays us back over time and we’re using a lot less of a resource," says Mike Elmer, Coca-Cola of Northern New England's Director of Capabilities.

Here in New England, 6.5 million pounds of CCNNE's recycled PET bottles are used to make fleece jackets by The North Face and Patagonia. The Londonderry plant boasts a whopping 93 percent recycling diversion rate and in 2013 sold over 12 million pounds of recycled commodities, working closely with Hampton, New Hampshire's Foss Manufacturing to process its recycled bottles and turn it into usable material. Its unique Energy Management Systems installed in the company's coolers and used in stores and restaurants reduces clients' energy use by 35 percent.

"Our major innovation is converting from the weight of a Coke bottle from 23g to a 22g. That's a savings of 1.2 million pounds," said Ray Dube, CCNNE's sustainability manager.

The company manufactures plant-based plastic bottles as an alternative to traditional plastics. The plastic plant bottles are created using a 30 percent blend from petroleum or switch grasses. The natural and synthetic plastics are chemically identical with a poly-propylene cap. And, according to Dube, contrary to popular belief, it is fine to leave the cap of the bottle on when recycling.

CCNNE recycles 10 to 20 percent of the water used in the creation of the bottles. "We save 20 million gallons of water per year. It costs around 1.6 liters of water for every liter of finished product, a leading conversion in the beverage industry," said Dube.

But what sets CCNNE's sustainability program apart from that of other company's programs is its traveling education presentation. Led by Dube, the presentation is geared to all ages, highlighting the different obstacles CCNNE has overcome to offset its carbon footprint. Dube's presentation is extensive and details the lifespan of the packaging from creation to disposal via recycling and eventual reuse.

"The education part just kind of grew on itself," says Dube. "We started out with this small little presentation and it sort of grew into this big thing because people are so fascinated by it and they started asking questions." In 2013 alone, Dube brought his presentation to 80 different conferences, middle schools, high schools and college campus events totaling over 100 days.

CCNNE sells and distributes in seven Northeast states and employs 1,000 workers. Their fleet of commercial vehicles and hybrids run on Biodiesel fuel. CCNNE has also implemented a no-idling policy for company vehicles. "We've saved 13,000 gallons in fuel," said Dube.

Dube and Elmer work every day to spread the message of corporate sustainability, and as their message grows, so will their business.

Green Dreams: Dube and Elmer work to educate the public about the great lengths CCNNE takes to offset its carbon footprint. They hope that by being present in the community, schools and businesses, it will help change the perception of the company's bottling practices. They also want other businesses with a large carbon footprint to reconsider how they can incorporate more sustainable practices in their daily operations.