Diana Robles joined her classmates from The University of Texas-Pan American in the Quad to watch firsthand how a single plastic soda bottle can be recycled to make hundreds of everyday products, including T-shirts, backpacks and rugs.
"It was very interesting to learn the process of recycling plastic and all the cool items that are manufactured afterwards," said Robles, a graduate student in accounting. "They gave out some recycled plastic koozies that I could have never imagined were made out of used plastic bottles."
The Coca-Cola Recycling Education Vehicle (REV) made a pit stop recently at UTPA. The REV is a self- contained vehicle, equipped with interactive displays, video screens, and games designed to educate students about the benefits of recycling.
"This is pretty effective, it has a little bit of everything," Robles said. "It provides a fun and engaging way of understanding plastic recycling."
Billy Walker, an account executive for Coca-Cola's south region, said the vehicle is the company's front line ambassador for recycling and members of the University community are the ideal spectators.
"The student population will determine our culture toward sustainability in years to come. These leaders have a passion for making a difference and, therefore, are the perfect audience for such education, collaboration and communication," Walker said. "The REV is always appreciated by students and the interactive concept makes it fun as well as educational."
Recycling plastic for reuse requires less energy than producing bottles with new materials, and reduces waste and greenhouse gases.
"The REV is a great tool that is used to help educate and support our goal as a company to drive sustainable efforts through recycling," Walker said. "With support and collaboration through partners like UTPA we will accomplish this goal. Our goal is recover, or support recovery of the equivalent of 50 percent of the bottles and cans we place in the market by 2015."
Coca-Cola's three REVs travel more than 120,000 miles a year, visiting more than 200 venues across the country.