By David Gold

Coca-Cola recyclingOctober 6 - Worldwide Olympic sponsor Coca-Cola has achieved its target of recycling 10.5 million plastic bottles used at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralymic Games.

Most were back on shelves within six weeks, and the initiative was a key part of helping make this summer's Games the first sustainable Olympics in history.

The bottles went through a reprocessing facility in Lincolnshire before being delivered to Coca-Cola's factory in Wakefield to be made into new bottles.

"We found that the impact of the six-week message meant that 70 per cent of the people who understood it were more likely to recycle when they got home," Coca-Cola's head of sustainable Games Katherine Symonds told edie.

"It reassured them that recycling really does happen [in the UK]."

Symonds' only regret was that they have not been able to recycle more, due to the waste caused by individuals not returning empty bottles to the green bins provided.

"It was impossible to know how many bottles we were going to get back," she said.

"We knew roughly what our sales would be, but in reality we got fewer back than we sold.

coca cola_binCoca‑Cola branded bins were installed in London to encourage people to recycle before, during and after the Games.

"We suspect that some of the bottles got taken away by consumers at the end of the Games - and hopefully recycled back at their homes.

"It led to greater acknowledgement of Coca-Cola being an environmentally-friendly organisation.

"The appropriateness of our fit as a sponsor of the Olympics really went up as well - people recognised we could play a meaningful role at the Games."

Coca-Cola had been working with London 2012 extensively on how to maximise bottle recycling during the Olympics, and even looked at the shape and style of bins located at Olympic venues.

Their products at London 2012 were sold in 100 per cent recyclable bottles containing 25 per cent recycled content, and Coca-Cola also pioneered carbon footprint methodology to help reduce their environmental impact.

Research commissioned by Coca-Cola has shown that 70 per cent of visitors surveyed at London 2012 said they would now be more likely to recycle at home.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]