Coca-Cola and Goodfellas collab for sustainability

Coca-Cola and Goodfellas collab for sustainability. / Photo by Alex Dubé Student Publications

The Coca-Cola Company (Coca-Cola) partnered with the local business Goodfellas Pizza & Wings to promote the introduction of 100% recycled Coke product bottles to the Atlanta area. As part of the Toss In, Take Out initiative, anyone who brought an empty plastic bottle to the store on Thursday, Nov. 2, received a free personal pizza.

Located at the corner of 14th and State Street, the Atlanta Goodfellas location is a 20-minute walk from Tech’s campus. Having served the Atlanta community for over a decade, Goodfellas has become a prominent figure in Atlanta’s food culture.

Tyrell Jenkins, Regional Manager and General Manager for the Atlanta location of Goodfellas, told the Technique that “any country, city or nation has their own culture, defined by their foods. Goodfellas has become a household name in Atlanta, and we are proud to serve our community and contribute to its culture.”

Coca-Cola reached out to local businesses in cities around the country to form a partnership promoting the introduction of 100% recycled plastic for their products in new markets. The recycled bottle expansion is coming to Atlanta, Chicago and Pacific Northwest markets. 

This fall, Coca-Cola took over hometown restaurants in Atlanta, Chicago and New York City, promoting the expansion.

This initiative comes as Coca-Cola is looking to affirm their “ambitions to reduce virgin plastic” and promote a “World Without Waste,” according to Kurt Ritter, Vice President & General Manager of Sustainability at Coca-Cola North America.

“As a leader in the food and beverage industry, Coca-Cola has a responsibility to help solve the global plastic waste crisis and ultimately help address climate change,” Ritter said.

Coca-Cola has already introduced 100% recycled bottles in the California, New York and Texas markets, but this expansion is a further push towards Coca-Cola’s sustainability goals.

According to Coca-Cola, expanding 100% recycled bottles to new markets will save over 37 million pounds of new plastic annually, equating to about 890 million bottles on a yearly basis. Coca-Cola expects this shift to eliminate 39,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions yearly. 

Ritter told the Technique that connecting with small businesses is a great way for Coca-Cola to work toward its goals for sustainability because it is one of the most direct ways to connect to the Atlanta community.

“Restaurants are so impactful in their local communities, and these are places where Coca-Cola can connect with consumers. Ultimately, we want consumers to feel good about choosing to purchase one of their favorite beverages, knowing that Coca-Cola, the company behind it, is helping to address climate change and make  positive impact,” Ritter said.

On the day of, a steady stream of customers deposited their empty plastic bottles in a bottle-shaped receptacle and chose a Dasani Water, Coke, Coke Zero Sugar or Diet Coke. Each choice of beverage was adorned with a 100% recycled label to enjoy with their personal cheese pizza.

Some customers were unaware of the event and returned to their vehicles to retrieve their empty plastic bottles. Others were walking by and stopped to see what the gathering was about. In all, Goodfellas collected 530 bottles to be recycled.

One customer, Leslie Lumpkins Jr., an Atlanta Area businessman., told the Technique he came to Toss In, Take Out after hearing about it through the community. 

“It’s great that Coca-Cola is working with small businesses to spread awareness and work to create a better environment,” Lumpkins Jr. said.

Jenkins sees the introduction of recyclable bottles at their stores as an opportunity for Goodfellas to do their part to combat waste.

“We sell many Coca-Cola products along with our meals because Coke pairs well with our pizza, so instead of buying non-recyclable products, we try to give back to the community and the world by buying recyclable bottles from Coca-Cola,” Jenkins said.

For Coca-Cola, this also marks a homecoming for the business that started operations in Georgia and has now grown into one of the largest beverage companies in the world. In addition to continuing to work towards its sustainability goals, Coca-Cola is giving back to the community by bolstering small businesses. Goodfellas will continue to use the new 100% recycled bottles in its store after the event as part of the initiative with Coca-Cola. Tech students can visit the store anytime to see the recycled Coke bottles in person and receive a 10% discount upon presentation of a BuzzCard.