At our sampling events, we give away complimentary Coca-Cola drinks and these cans and bottles could end up as litter – which is the last thing we want. Here’s how we tackle waste at our events and help our fans recycle.

Our sampling events take place across Great Britain all year round and are a great opportunity for people to try our latest products. You may have spotted some of our Coca-Cola Zero Sugar stands in your area already over the summer.

During these events, our brand ambassadors hand out free drinks to all the fans we speak to. This year alone, we’re planning on giving away over 10 million Coca-Cola Zero Sugar cans. On Britain’s busy streets there’s a risk that not all of them may end up in the recycling bin where they belong.

At every sampling event, we work really hard to try and keep things clean and tidy, recycle everything we possibly can and encourage our consumers to do the same. Doing all that requires quite a lot of work…

Planning ahead

The Taste Bar at a Coca-Cola Sampling Event
There’s a lot we need to do before we start handing out our drinks…

The first step to keeping our events clean involves lot of planning. We need to know the area we are working in really well which means knowing what recycling facilities are nearby and how many bins and bags well need to bring to collect all the empty cans we’re giving out. 

We want to give people the opportunity to enjoy a free can of Coca-Cola, encourage them to recycle and then leave without any sign we were ever there.

Handing out a message with every can

A can of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar
The message we give out matters as much as the drink

It’s one thing to make cans recyclable but we need to also make sure they end up in the right bin. We’ve worked with communications experts to develop banners and bin covers that clearly signpost and encourage people to recycle their used cans. But it’s our team who really make the difference.

Our ambassadors are uniquely placed to chat to our fans about recycling when they’re handing out the drinks. They’re committed to spreading our recycling message. Each drink,  is handed over with a request for the person to recycle the can after they’ve enjoyed their drink.

We’re aiming to talk to six million people about recycling during our sampling and other brand events. This is one part of our mission to convey the importance of recycling to 35 million Coca-Cola consumers.

Read more about our ambition for a sustainable future

Once we’ve passed on our message, the next step is to make it as easy as possible for fans to dispose of their cans in the right bin……

Bin tactics

A-Framed Recycle Bins
Specially designed A-framed bins give fans plenty of recycling opportunities

We always have recycling bins set up at the stands and in the surrounding area, so however quickly someone finishes their drink, there’s always an opportunity to recycle.

Our ‘runners’ keep an eye on the bins and replace the bags when they get full. They do regular sweeps, checking everywhere from pavements to benches for any cans that haven’t made it into a bin. They also do their best to keep the surrounding area clean and free from litter.

It’s hard for people to miss the bins: at the Coca-Cola Zero Sugar events there’ll be at least three huge, specially-designed A-framed recycling bins, scattered around the surrounding area. The extra bins need to be close enough to the stands that we can monitor them, but far enough away to be near people when they finish their drinks. A lot of thought goes into bin placement!

Prize-winning recycling

The Fortune Bar at a Coca-Cola Sampling Event
The ‘Wheel of Fortune’ ready and waiting at one of our festival stands

We also promote recycling at our events through giveaways and competitions. We’re at plenty of festivals this year, and we’re bringing our ‘Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Prize Wheel’ with us.

Once someone has enjoyed their mini can of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and dropped it into the recycling bin, they get to draw a coupon. This could be for a free bottle of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar or for a chance to spin the Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Prize Wheel.

If you’re lucky enough to spin the wheel, you could win a hat, a tote bag, a fish eye phone lens, a towel or another great prize. Not bad for just recycling a can!

And it’s not just our waste we’re recycling. Fans can recycle any drinks can or plastic bottle at one of our stands and get an extra chance to spin the wheel!

Bags full of data

Win a Prize in the Wheel of Fortune Coupon
A fan trying to find a ‘Wheel of Fortune’ coupon

At the end of each Coca-Cola Zero Sugar event, our waste management partner Biffa collects the cans from their bins and takes them to depots around the country. There the cans are counted and the total compared against the number of cans handed out on the day. This lets us know just how many cans we’ve managed to recover for recycling at each event.

So far this year we’ve managed to collect and recycle more than double the cans we’ve been able to collect at previous events. We’re getting better, but we know we still have a way to go to meet our goal of collecting and recycling every single can and bottle we sell. We will continue to work hard at trying to achieve this goal.

Once we’ve done the maths, the cans are taken away to be recycled, along with any other materials and items no longer needed from the event.

Our aspiration is simple: ‘leave no trace’. We want to sample our drinks and encourage people to dispose of their packaging properly and then leave the sampling area without any sign we were ever there. It’s a huge challenge, but one we’re committed to tackling.

Find out how the Coca-Cola system is fighting waste with our sustainable packaging strategy.