Coca-Cola Invites U.S. Retailers to “Give It Back”

New Merchandise Display Program Expands Company Commitment to Sustainability

Fully Recyclable Racks Significantly Increase Opportunities to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Coca-Cola's corrugate GIVE IT BACK rack is 100 percent recyclable. Currently being tested in Chicago and Kansas City area grocery stores, the racks should be available to grocery and convenience retailers nationwide by the end of 2011. (Photo: Business Wire)

ATLANTA--()--As The Coca-Cola Company continues to advance its efforts as a global leader in sustainability, it is taking an unusual step by asking U.S. retailers to give back the shelves that hold Coca-Cola products. Really.

Coca-Cola is developing a family of 100 percent recyclable merchandise display racks for use in grocery and convenience stores in the U.S. The first GIVE IT BACK ® racks are free-standing units made of easily recyclable corrugated cardboard and designed to communicate sustainability to shoppers.

The GIVE IT BACK racks are the first step in building towards a comprehensive, closed-loop retail equipment program where Coca-Cola creates recyclable in-store merchandise racks and then recovers, reuses and/or recycles the displays – an industry first.

“Coca-Cola recovered 400 million pounds of cans and bottles in the U.S. in 2010, yet we want to do more,” said Gary Wygant, Vice President, Business Development, Coca-Cola Recycling. “By creating a 100 percent recyclable merchandise display rack, Coca-Cola is asking grocery and convenience stores to join our sustainability efforts by returning or recycling our racks, just like we ask consumers to return or recycle our product packaging.”

Initially being tested in select markets, the new stand-alone racks are expected to become widely available in late 2011. When fully implemented across Coca-Cola’s U.S. operations, this innovative, closed-loop approach to display racks is expected to be both the first and the largest closed-loop merchandise display rack recovery program in the U.S. consumer packaged goods industry.

The corrugate merchandise racks are the first in a family of recyclable displays that is coming from Coca-Cola, including a rack made entirely of recycled PET plastic. The corrugate rack’s design communicates sustainability to the consumer by using an alluring overall form not found in most other displays. Material finishes emphasize the recyclability of the racks.

Most importantly, implementing the closed-loop process and utilizing recyclable materials will improve the chances that Coca-Cola’s displays will not go to a landfill. Currently, Coca-Cola is diverting, on average, more than 90 percent of its waste at its primary U.S. manufacturing facilities.

“Sustainability is core to our business, so we want to demonstrate this commitment to our customers and consumers at every level,” said Bruce Karas, Director, Sustainability and Environment, Coca-Cola Refreshments. “These new racks are a great example of how we can find innovative ways to make our equipment both sustainable and part of the shopping experience. With the GIVE IT BACK rack, we’re helping people feel good about their purchasing decisions as we work towards our overall sustainability goals.”

The Coca-Cola Company has a 2020 goal to reach industry leadership in environmental stewardship in the areas of packaging and related ancillary components like retail merchandise display racks. According to research by the Hartman Group, more than 70 percent of shoppers consider sustainability when making a purchase.

To read more about Coca-Cola’s sustainability initiatives, click here.

The Coca-Cola Company

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world’s largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Along with Coca-Cola, recognized as the world’s most valuable brand, the Company’s portfolio includes 12 other billion dollar brands, including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply and Georgia. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, juices and juice drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffees. Through the world’s largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company’s beverages at a rate of 1.7 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that protect the environment, conserve resources and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. For more information about our Company, please visit our website at

An informational video of the GIVE IT BACK rack can be viewed here:

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:


The Coca-Cola Company
Susan Stribling, +1 404 676 4120


The Coca-Cola Company
Susan Stribling, +1 404 676 4120