Atlanta-based Coca-Cola is helping to clean up the Mississippi River in St. Louis, using recovered recyclables to help close the loop in the materials supply chain. In a first for both the company and East Moline, Illinois-based Living Lands and Waters, Coca-Cola piloted a “closed-loop” system that included volunteering to collect recyclables and other debris along the Mississippi River and sorting the materials so they can be recycled into new items, such as plastic bottles to package Coca-Cola.
“The mighty Mississippi is due for a recharge,” says Chad Pregracke, founder of Living Lands and Waters, which is a 501 (c)(3) environmental organization that hosts river cleanups, watershed conservation initiatives, workshops, tree plantings and other conservation efforts. “Every day, illegal dumping, littering, stormwater runoff and flood events carry thousands of tires, household appliances, containers of unidentified liquids and plastic bottles into river systems. Thanks to grants from Coca-Cola and other sponsors, as well as the dedication of our staff and the thousands of volunteers, we can make a difference in transforming the face of America’s rivers.”