Community Involvement

From Collection to Recycled Plastic: Coca-Cola Closes the Loop in St. Louis

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Coca-Cola is working to close the loop in St. Louis and help clean up the Mississippi River.  In a first for both The Company and Living Lands and Waters, Coca-Cola piloted a “closed-loop” system – from volunteering to collect recyclables and other debris along the Mississippi River, to sorting the materials so they can be recycled into new items including new Coca-Cola plastic bottles.

“The mighty Mississippi is due for a recharge," said Chad Pregracke, founder of Living Lands and Waters. "Every day, illegal dumping, littering, storm water runoff, and flood events carry thousands of tires, household appliances, containers of unidentified liquids and plastic bottles into river systems. Thanks to grants from Coca-Cola and other sponsors, as well as the dedication of our staff and the thousands of volunteers, we can make a difference in transforming the face of America’s rivers.”

Living Lands and Waters operates a fleet of barges and industrial strength equipment designed to extract the heaviest of debris. From farm tractors to bowling balls, Founder Chad Pregracke, and his crew have pulled it out of the Mississippi. The collected debris is then sorted, recycled or disposed of properly. 

A team of Coca-Cola Heartland associates joined other volunteers to collect and sort 14,480 pounds of debris – 63 percent (9,160 pounds) of which was diverted from the landfill for recycling. Coca-Cola then partnered with Phoenix Technologies to convert the plastic bottles into recycled PET plastic which is being used in new Coca-Cola bottles that are hitting store shelves throughout the month of July.

“Heartland Coca-Cola is proud to lend a hand to support the cleanup effort on the Mississippi and help close the loop on our packaging in St. Louis,” said Junior Bridgeman, CEO, Heartland Coca-Cola. “At Heartland, we are committed to serving our community and one of the many ways we can do that is by working to preserve our waterways and help ensure our packaging is recovered and recycled”.

The Coca-Cola Foundation provided a $50,000 grant to help support 60 volunteer river cleanups this summer and fall with an estimated 3,500 participants. The company will continue to pilot the closed loop system in collaboration with recyclers and bottle manufacturers at other cleanup sites along the Mississippi, Illinois and Ohio Rivers. These cleanups are expected to remove more than 250 tons of debris primarily along the Mississippi.

About Living Lands & Waters

Chad Pregracke started Living Lands & Waters in 19987 as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the beautification and restoration of America’s major rivers and the education of environmental issues. From his single boat beginning LL&W has grown to an industrial strength internationally known organization with a fleet of barges and workboats. LL&W engages thoughts of volunteers each year in river cleanups, on environmental education workshops, the Great Mississippi Cleanup, Adopt a River Mile program, invasive species removing and the Million Trees project.

About The Coca-Cola Foundation

The Coca-Cola Foundation is the global philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company. Since its inception in 1984, the Foundation has awarded more than $900 million in grants to support sustainable community initiatives around the world. For more information about The Coca-Cola Foundation, visit 


Phoenix Technologies named corporate citizen of the year by Wood County

Wood County Phoenix Award Presentation

March 30, 2016 — Phoenix Technologies International, a leading producer of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET), has been named Corporate Citizen of the Year by the Ohio’s Wood County Economic Development Commission (WCEDC).Over the past 25 years ago, Phoenix has grown into a major source of rPET for a variety of packaging and other applications.  One out of every 20 PET bottles recycled in the 

United States comes to Phoenix to pelletize and crystallize for reuse back into consumer packaging applications."When evaluating companies for our Corporate Citizen of the Year award, we look for organizations that have taken a leadership role in their industries and have made a positive impact on northwest Ohio," said Wade Gottschalk, executive director, WCEDC. “Phoenix Technologies is an excellent representation of those ideals."Phoenix has continued to grow its manufacturing capability over the years, most recently announcing an $18 million expansion in 2015 to enable upstream production integration. The company added a proprietary new wash line to self-manufacture clean flake, used as feed material to create rPET. The new line is housed in a leased 66,000 square foot facility located in close proximity to Phoenix’ existing 90,000 square foot manufacturing plant. “On behalf of our employees, suppliers and customers, Phoenix is honored to accept this award. In addition, I would like to thank the people, enterprises and organizations. of Wood County that truly make it a great place to do business,” said L. Robert Deardurff, president, Phoenix Technologies.

Phoenix Technologies participates in Earth Day 2015

In honor of Earth Day 2015, Phoenix employees participated in tree planting. Pictured are Dennis Velkov, Tina Lowe and
Jesse Pine.

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Phoenix Technologies supports numerous educational and community programs. Examples of this support are listed on this page.

Written by:
Peter Kuebeck, Sentinel Staff Writer, 
Tuesday, 25 March 2014 08:17

Josh Mandel hopes students will start taking a new look at the skilled trades. "I believe we need to put shop class back in high school," the state Treasurer said Monday during a stop at Phoenix Technologies International in Bowling Green.

Mandel came by to present an inaugural "Ohio Strong" award at the company. The event was one of multiple stops planned by Mandel in the area, including Toledo, Findlay and Lima.

The Ohio Strong awards are intended to help recognize workers in manufacturing and the skilled trades across Ohio, and to raise public awareness to encourage people to pursue careers in those fields.

Prior to presenting the award to Henry Schworm of Phoenix - engineering manager and a 21-year employee at the company who started welding early in his life - Mandel noted that students today are largely told the only way to success is through a four-year degree. Such a degree is only one of the options available, he said, later noting figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that 48 percent of young adults are employed in jobs that don't require a four-year degree - and as a result they are getting in debt for their education needlessly.

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