In an effort to encourage visitors to recycle more, Sea Life Brighton and Coca-Cola Great Britain have joined forces to create The Loop, an interactive experience that aims to educate young people on the importance of recycling and caring for the environment.

Parallel to the beautiful Brighton seafront, opposite its famous Pier, is the Sea Life aquarium. Thousands of guests flock every year to visit the many creatures that live here, including sharks, rays, seahorses, and a well-loved turtle named Lulu. The aquarium doesn’t just aim to entertain, it educates people on the importance of conserving our oceans and protecting our ocean’s wildlife. That’s why Sea Life Brighton has teamed up with Coca-Cola Great Britain to create The Loop, and interactive educational experience about the importance of recycling.

“If you put your bottle in a recycling bin it can be melted down into small pieces and made into a new bottle – or something else. And so ‘the loop’ continues.”
– James Burleigh, chief ambassador for Sea Life

What is The Loop?

The Loop is an interactive installation that encourages visitors to pop their bottle into one of its recycling bins, where it’s transported to a secret inner bottle bank, and in return gives the visitor something back: a neatly pressed pop-badge made from recycled bottles. It also displays information about recycling and an educational video.

© Julia Claxton Photography: All of Coca-Cola’s bottles are 100% recyclable and can be turned into pop-badges, lanyards and even chairs
© Julia Claxton Photography: All of Coca-Cola’s bottles are 100% recyclable and can be turned into pop-badges, lanyards and even chairs

What does The Loop hope to achieve?

The experience was conceived by Max Leviston, manager of Sea Life Brighton. “All of Coca-Cola’s bottles are 100% recyclable: the caps, the labels and the bottles themselves. So we’re aiming to inspire our guests to recycle every single bottle we sell,” says Max. “That’s around 20,000 plastic bottles every year.”

Why is it called The Loop?

"Once you buy a bottle, you have several options: you can either drop it on the street, or on the beach – where it can harm our ocean's wildlife," says James Burleigh, chief ambassador for Sea Life. "Or you can put it in the rubbish bin, where it'll get taken to a landfill. Of course, there is another way. If you put your bottle in a recycling bin it can be melted down into small pieces and made into a new bottle – or something else like a pop-badge or even a chair! And so ‘the loop’ continues."  

Chairs that used to be bottles

In fact, all 50 chairs at Sea Life Brighton are made from recycled plastic that’s been gathered from initial trials of The Loop. The aquarium hopes that eventually every piece of furniture in the café will be made from recycled plastics from The Loop.

© Julia Claxton Photography: The chairs at Sea Life Brighton that are made from recycled plastic bottle
© Julia Claxton Photography: The chairs at Sea Life Brighton that are made from recycled plastic bottle

100% recyclable and using 25% recycled plastic

Liz Lowe, Sustainability Manager, Coca-Cola Great Britain says as well as being 100% recyclable, all Coca-Cola’s bottles contain up to 25% recycled plastic. “It’s our ambition to get this even higher,” she says. “Our bottles are valuable and we want to see more of them recycled. We don’t want to see them end up where they shouldn’t be.

“Later this year we will unveil a new sustainable packaging strategy to help us get more of our bottles back so they can be reused again and again and again.”

Recycle a bottle, donate to the Sea Life Trust

Plus, for every bottle that’s recycled at the aquarium, Coca-Cola Great Britain will donate 5p to the Sea Life Trust, an independent charity which works throughout the world to help endangered marine wildlife, as well as educating people on the dangers and risks to the world’s waters.

The video displayed on The Loop, explaining exactly what happens to your bottle when it’s recycled. Please note: This video has no sound.


‘Plastic isn’t the enemy’

James Burleigh, chief ambassador for Sea Life, says the aquarium doesn't want to stop people from buying plastic bottles. What they want to change is what they do with the bottle after it's used. "The issue isn't with the bottles, plastic isn’t the enemy – it's where the bottle ends up is the problem. So we decided if we could help our guests to become more engaged with recycling, we could make a difference."

“All of Coca-Cola’s bottles are 100% recyclable: the caps, the labels and the bottles themselves. So we’re aiming to inspire our guests to recycle every single bottle we sell.” – Max Leviston, manager of Sea Life Brighton

© Julia Claxton Photography: Some of the children from St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School Guildford enjoying The Loop and the recycled pop badges
© Julia Claxton Photography: Some of the children from St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School Guildford enjoying The Loop and the recycled pop badges

Good habits start young

School children from St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School in Guildford were invited to have the first look at the installation and try it out. “We wanted the children to come down here today to try it out because hopefully they’ll start to develop good habits from a young age”, says Max.

He continues: “One child I spoke to – not today but a while ago – suggested when you put a bottle into a recycling bin it simply goes into a different landfill site! So, with The Loop, we are hoping to inform our visitors about what recycling means and why it is so important for our oceans, in fact, for the whole planet.”

The children’s teacher, Jude Watt agrees. "I think it just clarifies the importance of recycling. Because we talk about it a lot at school, but for them to actually put in a bottle to see what comes out, it makes it very physical and very real and helps to show them that they're responsible for the environment."

“I think it's really important that Coca-Cola is helping to educate future generations on the importance of recycling,” she adds. 

‘Crucial partnership’

“The partnership with Coca-Cola was crucial to the development of The Loop,” says Max. “We couldn’t have done it without their support. We’re hoping that if it’s a success we can have The Loop in every aquarium in the country.”

Find out more about the work Coca-Cola Great Britain is doing to help encourage everyone to recycle