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Bringing the ‘Blue Box’ to the ‘Blue Grass’

Date August 30, 2011 Author Jason Smith Categories Media Releases

Coca-Cola Canada, the Recycling Council of Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment partner to reduce waste and improve recycling at Ontario’s festivals and community events

TORONTO, August 30, 2011 – From the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto, to the Bluegrass Festival in Tottenham, to the Cranberry Festival in Bala, Ontario is rich with festivals and events. For the millions of Ontarians who enjoy festivals, food and beverages are an integral part of the experience. In an effort to help reduce waste and recover more recyclables, the Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO), the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Coca-Cola Canada today announced a partnership to bring Ontario festivals towards zero waste.

The partnership will provide waste reduction resources and information to Ontario community festivals and events through an innovative online Toolkit. Recognizing the strong interest from event and festival organizers who want to reduce waste and offer recycling options to their patrons, RCO designed a toolkit for all sizes and types of events. The Toolkit offers practical information and resources to all users — be they seasoned recyclers or in the initial stages of a waste management program.

“It is estimated that Ontario hosts more than 5,000 festivals annually and drinking and eating is a big part of the celebration, but many of them struggle with issues of growing wastes” says Jo-Anne St. Godard, Executive Director at RCO. “We see the Zero Waste Event Toolkit as a way to incent festival planners to engage in zero-waste practices. The Zero Waste Certification Program will help us to recognize those that achieve the best waste reduction results.”

Funded by a $100,000 donation from the Coca-Cola Foundation as well as funds from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, RCO’s Zero Waste Community Event Certification Program is an innovative solution to the growing waste generated at events, festivals and open spaces in Ontario. The Toolkit was designed based on global research that leveraged the best tools and recycling activities from around the world. When activated in 2012, it will form the basis for the new Certification Program to help festivals measure and verify their recycling results, giving them positive public recognition.

“We are pleased to partner with the RCO and Coca-Cola on this ground-breaking initiative that allows Ontarians to enjoy our wonderful festivals and do their part to protect the environment,” says John Wilkinson, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment “Reducing waste is a top priority for our Government”

Coca-Cola’s support for RCO’s Zero Waste Event Program comes as it rolled roll out another important recycling effort – the ‘Give it Back’ program with the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE). To support the program, Coca-Cola provided 186 beverage syrup concentrate barrels which were re-purposed as recycling collection barrels.

The CNE deployed a total of 575 recycling barrels on the grounds this year. Last year’s efforts yielded a beverage container recycling rate of over 83% and diverted over 50 metric tonnes of beverage containers from landfill to recycling. In addition, the Coca-Cola Recycling Education Vehicle (REV) was at the CNE grounds to educate visitors on the importance of recycling through fun and interactive video games and contests.

“The CNE takes recycling very seriously and Coca-Cola’s deployment of over 186 recycling containers will help our recycling efforts,” says “David Bednar of the CNE. “Each year we work with partners to look for innovative ways to green the fair”

“Recycling matters to Ontarians and it’s great to be working with partners who are as committed to sustainability as we are,” says Fran Mulhern, Vice President Central Canada Sales Unit, Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada. “We know that we can do more working with others than we can on our own, especially when it comes to our recycling efforts and we are proud to be working with both the CNE and the Recycling Council of Ontario on these important initiatives”

The RCO Toolkit and Certification Program will be available to all festivals and events across the Province both large and small. By sharing information and applying best practices, festivals will be able to improve recycling as well as reduce their costs.

“With environmental issues and rising costs playing a major role in events these days, we need to maximize our efficiencies in the way we do things” says Ron Oatman, Volunteer Recycling Coordinator for Burlington’s annual Ribfest festival. “Through efficient composting and recycling, we are able to make a contribution in sustaining a healthier environment for our community by reducing the costs of garbage going into our local landfill sites. We look forward to the opportunity of working with RCO’s toolkit to help us achieve better recycling rates as well as setting the guidelines for making this a zero-waste event. ”

The Zero Waste Toolkit is scheduled to launch later this fall and the accompanying Certification Program will be offered in spring 2012, at the beginning of the festival season.


About Recycling Council of Ontario –

The Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO) is a not-for-profit, membership-based organization committed to minimizing society's impact on the environment by eliminating waste. RCO's mission is to inform and educate all members of society about the avoidance of waste, efficient use of resources, and the benefits and/or consequences of these activities. Since its inception in 1978, RCO has actively assisted municipalities, corporations, other organizations and individuals in reducing waste.

About Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada

Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada operates in all ten provinces, employs 6,300 people in more than 50 facilities, including seven production facilities across Canada. We offer a wide variety of non-alcoholic brands, many of which come in no-calorie and low-calorie options.

These beverages include sparkling soft drinks, still waters, juices and fruit beverages, sports drinks, energy drinks, coffees and ready-to-drink teas. We're proud to offer some of the most popular brands in Canada including Coca-Cola®, Diet Coke®, Coke Zero®, Sprite®, Fanta®, Nestea®, PowerAde®, Minute Maid®, Dasani® and vitaminwater®. Coca-Cola in Canada is represented by Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada and Coca-Cola Ltd. For more information about our Company, please visit our website at or

For more information, please contact:

  • Jo-Anne St. Godard, Executive Director, Recycling Council of Ontario, 416-657-2797 x 3
  • Brad Ryder, Director, Public Affairs and Communications, Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada, 416-424-6281 c. 416-892-8324
  • Lauren Baswick / Daina Astwood-George, APEX Public Relations Inc., 416-924-4442 x 245/235




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