Coca-Cola Combined Music And Recycling With Its 'Recycled Records' Campaign

Plastic waste is a pressing problem affecting our planet and our lives. Every minute, around 1 million plastic bottles are bought around the world, and we use about 5 trillion plastic bags each year, per the United Nations Environment Programme. Additionally, many plastics are made to be used only once, which further adds to the pollution. Overall, an estimated 400 million tons of plastic waste is created annually around the world. While most of us can switch to reusable shopping bags and other plastic-free products, many major companies continue to be at the root of the world's plastic waste problem.

Under pressure from consumers, many companies are now aware of their contributions to plastic waste and have made efforts to be more sustainable. For example, Kroger plans to get rid of its plastic grocery bags by 2025, McDonald's U.K. said goodbye to plastic cutlery in favor of paper options, and Bacardi will remove plastic pourers from its liquor bottles

Now, the Coca-Cola Company is making a change to some of its product packaging in hopes of doing better for the environment. As long as many of us can remember, the popular soft drinks Sprite, Seagram's, and Fresca have always been packaged in green or colored plastic bottles. But since July of this year, the trio of drinks has been sold in clear plastic bottles, per a press release from The Coca-Cola Company. Celebrating the change is a unique collaboration between beverage manufacturing and music.

This Coca-Cola album samples sounds from the bottle recycling process

The Coca-Cola Company switched certain soft drinks to have clear plastic bottles so they could more easily be recycled and repurposed into new products more than just once, per a company announcement. Colored plastics typically aren't repurposed as many times because the pigments diminish the quality of future products. Clear bottles, meanwhile, can repeat their life cycle multiple times and help "drive a circular economy for plastic." 

Though Sprite, Seagram's, and Fresca have been sporting their new look for a few months now, Coca-Cola just announced a special musical collaboration commemorating the big change. According to another press release from the company, Coca-Cola's new "Recycled Records" is a seven-track album made using samples of various sounds recorded during the plastic bottle recycling process. Record producers Mark Ronson and Madlib sampled everything from beeps on a forklift to ambient conveyor belt sounds, then mixed, chopped, and looped them into original beats. In addition to listening to Ronson and Madlib's musical creations online, fans can also use the same samples to create their own songs using an interactive audio player.

While Coca-Cola likely hopes the collaboration will draw attention to its reduced manufacturing of brand-new bottles, environmentalists say the transition from green to clear plastics is not enough to dramatically lessen the effects of climate change. Recycling Partnership chief innovation officer Sarah Dearman told NPR that most consumers will not recycle the bottles, based on Americans' track records, and the best solution would be for Coke to create refillable bottles that are returned to the company and reused.