Coca‑Cola blog: Reducing the environmental impact of the Olympic Torch Relay
Katherine Symonds, Head of Sustainable Olympic and Paralympic Games at Coca‑Cola Great Britain, explains how we're helping to reduce waste during the Olympic Torch Relay
Now the rubber’s hit the road, I am finally able to relax a bit and enjoy the spectacular sight of the Olympic Torch Relay working its way round the country.
The Relay extends the reach of the London 2012 Olympic Games, making it about the whole of the UK and not just London. I’ve no doubt that it will get the entire nation in the mood for the celebrations to come!
As the team lead for sustainability, it’s my role to make sure every element of our sponsorship is delivered with the minimum impact on the environment.
For the Olympic Torch Relay, that has meant thinking hard about the carbon footprint we will create by being on the road for 70 days. My team and I have done a huge amount of work to understand where all the hot spots might be. That’s led us to convert two of our vehicles to run on diesel-electric hybrid power. We estimate that this will save 1.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the course of the Relay.
In addition, our main celebration vehicle – known as the Beatbox – is fitted with an advanced exhaust cleanup system and a low emission auxiliary generator which reduces air pollution to very low levels: so important when we’re travelling through crowds of people.
We have also paid careful attention to driver training to ensure that all Coca-Cola’s vehicles are driven in a way that cuts fuel use.
We’ve thought about the environmental impact of what we give away on the Relay, too. We are handing out free bottles of Coca-Cola and Coke Zero all the way along the route, and have made sure they are all in 100% recyclable bottles.
To encourage people to recycle them, we have added one more hybrid vehicle to our little fleet – Recycle Beat. By now, you will no doubt be able to hum the tune to the new track 'Anywhere in the World', performed by Mark Ronson and Katy B. It is the Coca-Cola song for London 2012, and Recycle Beat will be playing it at the evening celebrations.
The vehicle has special sensors that connect to the sound system allowing people to add new beats to the track every time they recycle a bottle. So far, it has proved hugely popular and we’ve collected loads of bottles for recycling.
We’ve had some fun with our uniforms, too. Every member of the Coca-Cola team is wearing clothing made with fabric created from recycled plastic bottles.
It is national Recycle Week from 18th to 24th June, and the focus for this year is recycling ‘home and away’. So if you plan to come along to watch the Olympic Torch Relay pass through your town, make sure you play your part in making this a litter-free celebration.
If you want to know more about recycling in your area, and how you can get involved visit Recycle Now.