Next spring, the high school graduates of Atlanta public schools may be the first group of students to wear caps and gowns made out of recycled plastic.

Throughout the duration of Earth Week, the Coca-Cola Company collected plastic bottles to recycle and recreate as graduation gear for the class of 2020.

The company hopes to outfit 200 high school graduates by collecting at least 7,000 PET bottles from across Atlanta and several other US cities.

The bottles’ journey to next year’s graduation will continue when they arrive at WestRock Recycling in Atlanta, where they will be sorted and cleaned before making their way to processing plant in North Carolina. There, the bottles will be broken down into pellets, returning the PET to its virgin state. The materials will then be “upcycled” and woven into polyester yarn fabric and shipped to a mill to be cut and sewn into caps and gowns.

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“Graduation day is the most important day in the lives of our seniors. It exemplifies how we truly live our mission: graduating students prepared and ready for college and career,” said Dr. Meria Carstarphen, the superintendent Atlanta Public Schools (APS).

“Many of our students have persevered through adversity, overcome challenges and beat the odds to earn their diploma and carve out a bright future. As such, donning caps and gowns in their splendid school colors on graduation day means so much to them,” she added.

“[This] donation will help alleviate the burden of the cost of caps and gowns which are part of senior fees which families sometimes struggle to afford. It’s a beautiful gesture for giving back to both their hometown schools and the environment.”

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The corporation’s partnership with the city of Atlanta will dispatch street teams to every zip code in the city to “tip” open recycling carts and “tag” them with cards informing residents about what they can and can’t recycle, and to let them know how they’re doing in order to improve recycling rates and reduce recycling contamination.

These efforts are all part of the company’s #CocaColaRenew campaign to positively impact local communities and the planet. If successful, Coca-Cola hopes that their efforts will help Atlanta to become the first U.S. city without packaging waste.

Clean Up Negativity By Sharing The Good News To Social MediaPhoto by Coca-Cola Company

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