- Coca-Cola is partnering with mobility company Lime to encourage consumers to recycle its new bottles made from 100% recycled plastic, per a press release.
- The beverage company will provide a free, 10-minute ride on a Lime bicycle or electric scooter for consumers who purchase a Coca-Cola Sip Size bottle and make a pledge online to recycle it. In total, Coca-Cola will offer more than 40,000 ride vouchers via email.
- The partnership promotes the Coke brand's first new bottle size in a decade while building on parent company Coca-Cola's sustainability efforts around recycling.
Coca-Cola's partnership with Lime sees the company leveraging interest in micromobility — travel by small, lightweight vehicles moving at speeds less than 25 kilometers per hour — to encourage recycling while promoting its new Sip Sized bottles. Consumers who buy the 13.2 oz product — which is made from 100% recycled plastic material (rPET) and recently became available nationwide — can make a pledge on a branded microsite to recycle the bottle and receive a promo code for a free ride on the Lime app in exchange for sharing their name, email address and birth date. Collecting first-party data about consumers has become a bigger priority for major marketers amid growing privacy and regulatory concerns.
By partnering with Lime, Coca-Cola is specifically targeting Gen Z — the demographic most interested in micromobility. Forty-four percent of Gen Z plans to increase their use of alternative travel compared to pre-pandemic use, per a Longitude study commissioned by ING and cited in the release. Regardless of age, respondents showed a heightened willingness to use electric bicycles (21%) and electric scooters (16%), a sign that Coca-Cola could appeal to greater swaths of the population.
The Lime partnership builds on Coca-Cola's World Without Waste initiative, which aims to collect and recycle 100% of the packaging the company sells globally by 2030. Launched in 2018, the initiative follows a period of missed targets and scaled-back goals from the beverage giant, for which it has faced sharp criticism. While the goals of World Without Waste mark a step forward for Coca-Cola, some environmentalists believe recycling won't be enough to curb the plastic pollution crisis.
Coca-Cola claims the new recycling initiative with Lime, coupled with the launch of bottles made from recycled plastic, will result in a 20% reduction in the company's use of new plastic compared to 2018.
Other companies have recently launched their own environmental initiatives, such as PepsiCo and P&G's Tide. Yet as climate issues continue to worsen, consumers are tiring of brands' empty promises. Brands that lean too heavily on marketing their sustainability efforts could appear as self-serving, whereas brands that take a more holistic approach and use sustainability to drive business transformation may be better suited for success.
Coca-Cola's partnership with Lime comes as the beverage giant's ad spend returns to pre-pandemic levels. In addition to launching a multichannel campaign for its new Zero Sugar product — which will include experiential efforts around sporting events this fall — Coca-Cola is also dipping its toes into buzzy digital activations like NFTs to meet consumers increasingly interested in the technology.