CHARLOTTE – Envision Charlotte and the City of Charlotte have partnered with Sealed Air, Coca-Cola Consolidated and the Charlotte Area Transit System for Send Me on My Way, a campaign to educate residents and increase recycling rates.
The initiative will use ambassadors at companies to educate their employees about recycling.
CATS will collect certain plastics on a retired, retrofitted bus and deliver them to Coca-Cola Consolidated and Sealed Air. The plastics will become new packaging or transformed into new materials, such as polyester.
“The ability to put recycled content back into our packaging is not a matter of science, it’s a matter of infrastructure,” said Ken Chrisman, Sealed Air’s senior vice president of commercial operations. “Most cities aren’t able to harvest and efficiently recycle flexible plastic materials, and there is little to no financial incentive for facilities to invest in upgrades because there is a limited market for the recycled material. That must change. Sealed Air wants to help facilitate that change.”
Kimberly Kuo, senior vice president of public affairs at Coca-Cola Consolidated, said her company has been active in sustainability for many years.
“Many of our plastic bottles are 100% recyclable, so we are eager to collect and reuse the plastic for new beverage packaging,” Kuo said. “We believe every plastic bottle can be recycled and reused for new bottles or other valuable consumer goods.”
Charlotte households generate over 144,000 tons of plastics annually, but only 3,000 tons are recycled. In 2018, Charlotte announced it would develop a circular economy strategy. The Send Me on My Way campaign will run through July 2020.
“We hope this is the first of many programs to engage our citizens and transform our community into a more circular one with less waste going to the landfill, while promoting innovation and entrepreneurship,” City Manager Marcus Jones said.