Coca-Cola has teamed up with Bill Nye, aka the "Science Guy," to promote its sustainability efforts. Famous for making complex scientific ideas easy to understand for kids and everyday folks, Nye—a “recycled” version of him, that is—stars in “World Without Waste,” a charming stop-motion animated film produced by award-winning animators Mackinnon & Saunders (“Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Corpse Bride”) that illustrates the various steps the company takes to recycle its own bottles and containers.
In the film, Nye presents an optimistic attitude to the threat of climate change. Examining one of the biggest culprits—plastic, he notes how if we take efforts toward recycling, it’s a wondrous material that can be used again and again, helping to reduce our carbon footprint. He then follows the circular journey of plastic bottles dumped into recycling bins, traveling to material recovery plants, getting sorted, ground into flakes and refashioned into bottles once again. “Together we can close the loop,” the film concludes.
The film is a playful illustration of The Coca-Cola Company’s “World Without Waste” sustainable packaging initiative, which aims to collect and recycle a vessel for every can or bottle it sells by 2030, have 100% of packaging recyclable by 2024 and use 50% recycled materials in packaging by 2030.
Nye has been the go-to guy for brands looking to promote their environmental efforts. Previously, he had worked with Coca-Cola competitor Pepsico on its Super Bowl ad promoting SodaStream.
The production itself had sustainability baked in. Mackinnon & Saunders shot the film on a set composed of recyclable and recycled materials. Nye’s puppet self was actually made of Coca-Cola bottles—with a tie fashioned from a Coke label. Green Sprite labels became tress, while conveyor belts were crafted from recyclable cardboard.
Various elements of the production were also used across multiple scenes and re-used as much as possible in order to stay true to the message of recycling, noted Glenn Holberton, a producer at Mackinnon & Saunders.
Christine Yeager, The Coca-Cola Company sustainability director, North America operating unit explained in a statement that Nye’s talent for communicating complex topics made him the right spokesperson for the message. “Recycling can be confusing for consumers,” she said. “We need to be able to articulate, in a clear, easy-to-understand way, how recycling helps drive a circular economy by using and reusing materials again and again. We wanted to make this process more digestible for consumers, so they understand the science behind recycling and hopefully feel inspired to take action with us.”
The film debuted in time for the beginning of Earth Month and goes hand-in-hand with The Coca Cola Company’s “Recycle and Re-Enjoy It” campaign. The effort included activations at the NCAA Final Fours in New Orleans and Minneapolis, in which cans and bottles in the host arenas were collected to be repurposed into new vessels, via a partnership between Coca-Cola North American and Circular Solutions Advisors.
Coke North America’s environmental efforts, which all ladder up to the “World Without Waste” program, also include helping to bolster community recycling infrastructures, improving access to curbside recycling and building awareness alongside The Recycling Partnership, The American Beverage Association’s Every Bottle Back Initiative, the U.S. Plastics Pact and Closed Loop Partners.