Blog : Coca-Cola teams up with the Ocean Conservatory to Combat Marine Plastic

By Anne | Oct 6, 2015 | in
The Ocean Conservancy, a non-profit dedicated to protecting and preserving the ocean, is seeking to tackle the problem of marine plastic pollution once and for all with the help of Coca-Cola.
The problem itself is vast, with 8 million metric tons of plastic having “leaked” into the ocean to date. The non-profit recently released a report serving as a “call to arms” for industry officials, politicians and citizens collaborate in preventing any more plastic from meeting ocean water. The report identified five countries as the main culprits contributing to the volume of marine plastic, including; China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
The report seeks to reduce plastic leakage through improved waste mitigation, treatment and collection. Waste collection systems need to be tightened to prevent plastic leakage. An estimated 25% of the existing marine plastic was collected for the purpose of recycling and somehow slipped through the waste management conglomeration cracks. 
Another big part of the plan is to increase the overall quality of plastic being produced. An estimated 80% of plastic produced is low value, which ultimately reducing its chance of being collected and properly processed. This is where industry giants like Coca-Cola and Dow Chemical can have a huge impact on preventing pollution through improving plastic container engineering.
“This is a big world issue but also a local one.  No one wants to see any recyclables or trash end up in any of our water ways and that includes those of us in industries that use plastic packaging.” Ray Dube, Sustainability Manager at Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England said.
“As a local NH based franchise, we’re aware of what the Coke Co is involved in and we support them in what they are trying to do.” Dube continues.  “For us though we can only work locally and we do that by volunteering for beach and water cleanups, providing recycling bins for events so the consumers have a place to dispose of their recyclables properly.” 
Coca-Cola Bottling Company of New England is a Board of Directors for NHtB (another Green Alliance Business Partner) who has been providing grants to communities to help build their recycling infrastructure for more than 30 years so more recyclables end in the proper place rather than in the waste stream.  
“A current discussion we are having now is ‘Do we stop supporting open top recycling bins and only support carts with covers?’” Dube added.
A major source of liter is recyclables blowing out of open top recycling bins on windy days.  This is a major problem in Portsmouth, and other coastal towns, as unfortunately a lot of that liter gets blown into the ocean.
“At the end of the day we all share the same planet and most of us don’t want to see it trashed." Dube said. "No matter how big a problem may seem there is usually always a local way the help make it better.”
To learn more about Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England’s sustainability initiatives, click here.
To read the Ocean Conservatory’s Report, click here.