IU students and community members recently came together and collected more than 1,600 pounds of recyclables as part of a partnership with Coca-Cola Consolidated, aiming to lower the amount of unrecycled plastic waste.

Following the IU versus University of Michigan football game on Oct. 8, a group of students and community members collected plastic and aluminum waste for two hours. The collected bottles and cans were inserted into The Roadie, created by Revolution at Closed Loop Partners, a mobile, on-site sorting system easily transported around the country to high traffic areas – sporting events, concerts, outdoor venues – to cut transportation costs of recycling centers.

Coca-Cola Consolidated partnered with the IU Office of Business Partnerships, IU Athletics and IU Sustainability, to bring The Roadie to the IU Bloomington campus. IU Memorial Stadium has the capacity to seat over 52,000 fans and after the game is over, the leftover waste is substantial.

“We are grateful for the collaboration between IU Sustainability, IU Athletics, Facilities, and Coca-Cola Consolidated to assess the amount of recyclable product produced at a single football game and to glean greater insight into IU’s sustainability efforts,” said Val Gill, associate vice president of business partnerships at IU.

In total, the group collected 1,625 lbs. of waste which included 14,040 polyethylene terephthalate bottles and 21,049 aluminum cans. The Roadie sorted and consolidated the collected debris and ended with 991 lbs. of recyclable material which was directly transported to a recycling center.

Part of Coca-Cola Consolidated’s mission is for their product packaging to be 100 percent recyclable material. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is a clear, strong, lightweight plastic created to be recyclable, versatile and was created to be reused. Plastic from the collected bottles is sent back to Coca-Cola Consolidated to be upcycled into new bottles.

“Coca-Cola Consolidated invests in collaborations with partners like Indiana University as part of our Refresh Recycle Renew sustainability initiative,” said Todd Marty, senior director of sustainability at Coca-Cola Consolidated. “We’re committed to developing industry-leading solutions for recycling, like the Roadie, ensuring that our bottles and cans are made into new packaging.”

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