Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) is the largest nonalcoholic bottler in the world. The company bottles and distributes some of Coca-Cola’s most popular brands and one of its production facilities is eyeing a 100% internal recycling rate. The Bellevue, WA, CCE facility finished 2009 with a 99.74% internal recycling rate, earning the facility the right to keep the coveted Zero the Dog traveling trophy.
CCE's Bellevue, WA, facility is nearing a 100% recycling rate.
The Zero the Dog trophy is awarded to the CCE facility with the highest recycling rate each quarter. Although it is a traveling trophy, Zero has resided at the Bellevue facility long enough that facility employees consider it their own. In fact, facility managers held a trophy naming contest and ultimately the name Zero was chosen, courtesy of a forklift driver at the plant. While Zero the Dog is a point of pride for all employees at the CCE Bellevue facility, it is important to understand how the Bellevue location is able to create an almost permanent home for Zero — recycling. The Bellevue facility’s focus on a 100% recycling rate is part of CCE’s Target 100 program. Prior to starting the Target 100 program, the Bellevue facility was only recycling approximately 65% of its internal waste. Within three months, that number jumped to 96%. This significant improvement in recycling was achieved because of the dedication of the employees at the facility. The Pacific Northwest is known for its environmentally friendly pursuits, and many employees were already recycling at home. This made it easy to transfer these habits to the workplace. Since the Bellevue location is an actual bottling and distribution center, it goes beyond the typical office paper recycling. CCE Bellevue recycles packing crates, shipping products, beverage containers and compostable items from the break room. The facility also recycles the containers of any outdated or unsold Coca-Cola products that are returned to the plant. When the plant started its recycling efforts, it separated approximately seven different items. Now, that number is more than 50.
The Zero the Dog trophy. Photo courtesy of CCE.
Although the Bellevue facility continues to retain its position at the top recycler of the 79 CCE production facilities, there are 25 other locations that have a recycling rate above 90%. This includes all of CCE’s European facilities, which are now focusing on averaging a 98% recycle rate. As CCE continues to improve its recycling rate at its production facilities, it is also working on other environmental measures, including energy conservation and water stewardship. The CCE Bellevue facility features energy-efficient lighting and even motion-sensitive vending machines. Motion sensors inside the vending machine regulate the machine’s light and temperature based on foot traffic in the area. CCE has implemented several measures to reduce its water usage, include rainwater harvesting, a water replenishment system, and rain gardens in production facilities and sales centers. In late 2009, CCE Bellevue used approximately 1.45 liters of water for every liter of water needed to produce the beverages. In April 2009, this figure was 1.75.  A new water reclamation system allowed CCE Bellevue to drop its usage to the 1.45:1 ratio, which is close to the 1.3:1 ratio seen in European facilities. Ultimately, CCE is aiming to achieve a 1:1 water ratio.