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By Barbara Grondin Francella
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Holiday Cos., in partnership with Midwest Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Coca-Cola Recycling LLC, the Recycling Association of Minnesota (RAM) and Hennepin County, launched a program to increase consumer recycling outside the home.
Giant, Coke-bottle shaped recycling bins were placed at 10 Holiday Stationstores in the St. Paul metro area, offering consumers a convenient on-the-go recycling option for all glass, plastic and aluminum beverage containers. Plans call for the bins to be placed at up to 150 Twin Cities Holiday locations, Steve Lunderborg, Holiday Cos.' beverage category manager, told CSNews Online.
RAM is working with PPL Industries and Adult Training and Habilitation Center to hire special needs adults, who will collect and sort the material. Hennepin County provided trucks and funding for sorting equipment to PPL Industries to support the effort.
"Holiday Stationstores is proud to offer customers a convenient way to recycle and make a difference for the environment," said Larry Mitchell, Holiday Cos.' vice president of merchandising.
The c-store operator unveiled the program on National Recycling Day, Saturday, Nov. 15, with giveaways at a store in St. Paul. Customers received reusable shopping bags, hats and samples of Coca-Cola products, Lunderborg said.
"The bins are pretty much self-explanatory," Lunderborg noted, saying additional marketing to customers isn't needed.
"While most Minnesotans recycle at home, studies show that recycling rates decrease dramatically when people are away from home," noted Ellen Telander, RAM's executive director. "The Coca-Cola/Holiday Stationstores partnership will make recycling convenient and hopefully reverse that trend.”
On average, 50 percent of the volume of trash at gas stations consists of bottles and cans, items that most people are recycling when in their home, she added.
Currently, Minnesota has a recycling rate of 43 percent with a goal of increasing that rate to 50 percent by 2011. Coke introduced Minnesotans to the bins at the 2008 State Fair, where they placed more than 400 of them throughout the fairgrounds. During the fair, Minnesotans recycled nearly 336,000 beverage containers.
"This partnership will make it convenient for consumers to recycle away from home and it will help Coca-Cola close the loop by recovering more material and using it to increase the recycled content of our packages said John Burgess, president of Coca-Cola Recycling LLC, based in Atlanta.
Holiday Stationstores operates 440 stores in 12 states in the northern tier region of the United States.