A few years ago, Coca-Cola decided it would significantly decrease its environmental impact. When it took a good look at where its environmental footprint was highest, it saw that vending machines are a big culprit.
Let’s take a moment to accept the “Duh” of this.
To combat the vending machine factor, Coca-Cola began replacing HFC machines with CO2 machines. Yep – Carbon Dioxide is helping our environment! By the end of 2006, the company had 6,000 units placed world-wide (yes, that’s relatively few when considering they have 10 million machines operating around the globe, but still nothing to sneeze at). Continuing with that trend, they’ve drastically increased their CO2 machine intake by purchasing 100,000 new compressed carbon dioxide beverage coolers.
The new machines will emit 75% fewer greenhouse gasses, though they cost about 25% more. This is significant when considering that HFCs are major global warming pollutants and, if allowed to run as rampant as they currently are, their overall contribution to global warming pollution could nearly double within 40 years. Compressed Carbon Dioxide-based cooling units, on the other hand, will help reduce the impact of these HFC clunkers on our planet – and since Coca-Cola is a global company, it truly is a global issue.
On top of purchasing the new CO2 machines, Coca-Cola has also invested $40 million to research next generation refrigeration technologies. Lets hope this research includes looking into that little factor of electricity consumption required by those 10 million machines to light up, take your money, and spit out a cold beverage.
If you think like me, you have a LOT of questions buzzing about the true bonuses of this project, like what is happening to the old machines; and are they really replacing old HFC machines, or just adding to the number of machines in their fleet while still running those pesky HFC coolers for however long they’ll keep chugging away; and what is the environmental impact of producing the CO2 machines in the first place; and on and on. Well, I guess if you think like me, then we’ll all just have to take a deep breath and go one step at a time. Step one: Congratulate Coca-Cola on taking a significant lead on reducing emissions via clean(er) technology.
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