Recycling Gets Posh

It’s hard to believe the recycling symbol is more than 40 years old. Since its inception, recycling rates have slowly inched up to 34.1 percent as of 2010, according to the U.S. EPA. But there is still work to be done. Even 40 years later, many consumers remain confused, overwhelmed or apathetic toward recycling. Yet, one company is hoping to change that by making recycling the hottest thing since the Black Eyed Peas.

Coca-Cola is partnering with musician in a new high-fashion endeavor – a clothing and gear brand made of recycled materials called Ekocycle. “Today’s generation of young consumers represents an active force,” says Bea Perez, vice president and chief sustainability officer at Coca-Cola. “And the Ekocycle brand aims to be a driver in rallying their support and efforts around a global sustainability movement.”

The first product to hit shelves will be a pair of Ekocycle-branded Dr. Dre “Beats” headphones for a hefty price tag of $349.00 – one of the higher-priced Beats headphones currently on the market. Ekocycle hopes to follow up with partnerships with other trendy designers to create an entire collection of goods, from shoes to furniture, all with the goal of making consumers think differently about green. Ekocycle has also joined forces with Earth911 to offer a Recycling Center Locator on the brand’s website where consumers can type in their zip codes to find their nearest recycling centers.

However, while the new products will list how many bottles or cans it took to produce the products, there is little information on what to do with the product after it has fulfilled its useful life. Is this enough? Or is there still a disconnect between purchasing a recycled product and making responsible choices at end-of-life?

Coca-Cola is certainly taking the term “recycled” to the next social stratosphere by inviting notable musicians, artists and designers to work with the new brand. Whether it will actually motivate young adults to recycle or just fuel consumption remains to be seen.

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