If you have been a friend of mine for life, known me for 5 minutes, or followed me on social media for any sort of amount of time you will know that there is one thing that I love more than any other (not more than my husband or children admittedly although it comes close). That thing is Diet Coke. It’s a bit of a running joke, I used to even have it on my instagram bio ‘Always with a Diet Coke in my hand’. I don’t really drink alcohol anymore so I look forward to sitting down on the sofa with a Diet Coke in my hand in front of the TV or a book once the children are in bed. I used to joke that the absolute ideal brand I could work with would be Coca-Cola.
Well that wish has come true. I am honoured that I am indeed going to be working with Coca-Cola really closely over the next few months. But light hearted joking aside, it is for a really important subject and one which I am really looking forward to discussing and learning about more over the course of my partnership with Coca-Cola- and that is the subject of sustainability. I am part of their new parenting blogger panel alongside three other parents which is something I am incredibly excited about.
Coca-Cola have been committed to reducing the environmental impact of their bottles and cans and have had a long term sustainability strategy. They have introduced the Coke Family Plastic Challenge to help implement this further. Rather than just being a one-off marketing campaign, they want to encourage families to take further action, asking them to recycle more of their plastic bottles so that more recycled plastic is available for their packaging.
Currently only 58% of plastic bottles in the UK are recycled, which I must admit is quite an astonishing figure. But when I think about it, I know for a fact I have grabbed a plastic bottle of water on the go for example (rather than bringing my own reusable water bottle) and then thrown it away in whatever waste bin was close to hand (rather than a dedicated recycling one). This means that companies like Coca-Cola have insufficient levels of recycled plastic – known as rPET- in their system, which makes it increasingly difficult to produce bottles made from higher proportions of recycled materials. The Coca-Cola packaging in GB currently has 25% rPET and they have made a commitment to reach 50% rPET by 2020.
So what is our first challenge?
By recycling just one more bottle a week, this could drastically improve society, putting more plastic into the recycling system to help increase the amount of recycled materials in plastic products. But lets face it, especially for little ones, the subject of recycling isn’t particularly exciting. Maddie has learnt about it at school (and to be fair she did really enjoy it and came back full of facts and ideas). But Coca-Cola have challenged us to try and educate ourselves and the kids more.
We have decided to start off by teaching the girls about in it a silly but fun way, to get them started and motivated to learn more over the next few months, and also to inspire them to start thinking about what kind of things can be recycled. It was Jon’s idea actually, but we have installed a little basketball hoop over the top of our bins (we have a colour coded bin which means you can separate your waste) and every time we have something plastic to put in the bin we encourage the girls to try and get the bottle through the net.
It is just a silly but fun way of encouraging them to think about the waste we are creating and what kind of things can or need to be recycled. It’s such a simple thing but they are loving it- and they keep checking with me about every different item to see if it can be recycled- so in turn it is helping them learn more about the process. Recycling doesn’t have to be a boring process, nor does it have to be transitional, it’s about educating the children and ourselves to do this in fun, innovative ways to help keep them interested.
I am really looking forward to partnering with Coca-Cola over the next few months and really interested in learning more about sustainability and recycling too. I think it is going to be a great partnership.
NB: We are working with Coca-Cola on this partnership over the course of the next few months. However all opinions, creative controls and content are entirely my own.