Dasani closure made from post-consumer resin clinches top prize

By Erin Sloan, Plastics News Staff

Coca-Cola wins the 2020 Caps & Closures Innovation Award for the first beverage closure made from post-consumer recycled content, made for its Dasani bottled water line.

The use of recycled content in beverage bottles has been a major focus in recent years, but Coca-Cola Co. has taken its sustainability measures to new heights — the closure.

The newly designed closure for Coca-Cola’s bottled water line, Dasani, is the first of its kind in the beverage industry that has post-consumer recycled content.

The closure was named the winner of Plastics News’ Plastics Caps & Closures Innovation Award during the annual conference on Sept. 25.

“Wow that’s a big surprise,” said Izabela Lomacka, global procurement director for Atlanta-based Coca-Cola. “Innovations such as these are essential to keep driving action toward a sustainable future. I would like to stress it has been the first use of post-consumer content in our system, and as far as we are aware, is the first in the beverage industry, therefore it’s a great milestone to be celebrated.”

The closure has the same feel, seal and other characteristics of traditional Dasani closures, but with the added sustainability bonus of recycled content.

The closure itself has 30 percent recycled content which was a “sweet spot” for functionality. The PCR was harvested from high density polyethylene milk jugs, which are then purchased from the recycling system, ground, sorted and purified to meet FDA levels, said Michael Price, engineer in research and development for Coca-Cola.

“Our experience is that we met our goal, which was to make this change invisible to consumers and bottling plants,” he said. “No one is really aware of it because it’s a seamless change in our process.”

During a keynote presentation with the conference, Bimal Lakhotia, director of packaging research and development at Coca-Cola, cited Dasani’s green-colored cap as a nod to the sustainability efforts in the making of the packaging. Green denotes “sustainable” or “recycling.”

Coca-Cola wins the 2020 Caps & Closures Innovation Award for the first beverage closure made from post-consumer recycled content, made for its Dasani bottled water line.

“On packaging, there is a science behind using the colors, specifically looking at consumers and coming up with a color of closures,” he said.

Typically, he said, a consumer would weigh purchasing a product made of virgin plastic vs. one made of PCR — the consumer will definitely go with the PCR and is ready to invest in the circular economy.

Incorporating PCR content into closure manufacturing is not an easy process and teams at Coca-Cola used significant resources in development, testing, partnerships with suppliers, food and safety regulations with the FDA to finish the closure.

“The overall project was pretty technically difficult. Imagine taking PCR, a different resin, and trying to blend it with virgin resin,” said Penny Walter of Coca-Cola bottlers. “It was also difficult to find suppliers that can have an FDA approved material.”

PCR can have some unsavory taste or odors, but Coca-Cola’s processor Envision put the content through rigorous purification to ensure the closures would not have those issues, Price said.

The closure supports Coca-Cola’s pledge to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for a new plastics economy with higher recycled content and Coca-Cola’s own World Without Waste Program.

The program is a pledge by Coca-Cola to make all packaging from recycled content by 2025, including bottles, cans and closures.

“We want to collect and recycle to drive that circular economy. We’re 60 percent of the way there, we’ve got a lot of work to do but we’re committed to this World Without Waste program,” Price said. Another finalist was Calyx Containers, which made the first packaging system for concentrates used in the cannabis industry. It designed a lid with a multi-shot molded cap and TPE gasket that features a quick closing time that makes the jar secure and child-resistant. The other finalist, Clayton Corp., designed a fire extinguisher foam product in an aerosol can complete with a pressure indicator and a spray cap.

Meeting Planners Guide: Prevent ‘virtual meeting burnout’ with unique activities

By H.M. Cauley  – Contributing Writer, Atlanta Business Chronicle

Since the world shut down in March due to the coronavirus, many companies have scrambled to learn a new lingo. Slack, Zoom, WebEx, Google Hangouts, Teams, GotoMeeting and other variations of the term “meet online” were integrated into the vocabulary and process of doing business. 

But what seemed innovative and functional five months ago has become, for many, a chore. Employees have been in or heard of online meeting meltdowns that range from participants sleeping, holding other conversations and, yes, using the facilities. 

“We’ve had to make sure there is no virtual meeting burnout,” said Tricia Taylor, senior director of corporate communications and change management for the Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Sales and Service Company. “So along with video conferencing, we’ve had online chats, conference calls and casual, drop-in-and-out meetings at the end of the day. We’ve had to quickly adapt because communication is always critical and even more vital in these unprecedented times.” 

Since going virtual in mid-March, the company’s 1,000 employees in Atlanta, Tampa, Fla., and Tulsa, Okla., have stayed connected beyond official business meetings. They participate in “Wellness Wednesdays” videos that cover issues such as physical and mental health and provide resources for employees who need support. They’ve socialized through pet competitions, virtual bingo, home scavenger hunts and step challenges. 

Founder of the team-building group Improve It!, Erin Diehl takes a similar approach to team meetings. She and her crew work with companies to build cohesion and increase collaboration. When the world went online in March, she realized her group needed to take some of its own advice. Diehl set up themed conversations on Slack around trivia, show tunes, kids and pets, where staff can interact in multiple spaces. 

“What sparked the idea was Goat-2-Meeting, an animal sanctuary you can book, and they’ll show up on your meeting with goats, cows or a farm tour,” said Diehl. “We had smiles for weeks when we did that. And it didn’t take away from work; it just added to our culture.”

Diehl also keeps her team engaged virtually through spirit days, where they dress up in various outfits and find matching backgrounds for their meetings. She also initiated Friday shut-downs to give employees time to get away from the screens.

All the initiatives are to create camaraderie and remove the drudgery that can come from tedious online meetings.

“It’s easy to forget why you do what you do,” she said. “If you forget the people you work with and the impact you make, then you’re not engaged. Making them want to be here is the biggest thing.”

Bela Jacobson, director of packaging operations at the architecture, engineering and construction consulting firm Haskell, has kept her 70-member team in touch through video conferencing, which she’d used well before the pandemic.

“Everybody already had access and logins, most of the team had laptops, and [we] converted our conference rooms a year or two ago to accommodate Teams,” she said, adding that the company has about 70 offices around the country that communicate with each other already. “We had the capability to pivot really quickly.”

Jacobson said she realized quickly that not seeing coworkers face-to-face daily made it difficult to maintain morale and culture. 

“I immediately recognized the challenges that people who are remote have felt in the past,” she said. “It’s difficult to maintain active relationships when you don’t run into people. So we started doing some things immediately.”

First up was a weekly happy hour. Volunteers have led trivia, hosted games and come up with themes around Broadway or favorite coronavirus memes. Non-obligatory sessions were held from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., and at 8:30 p.m., to accommodate people with children. One person hosted a 7 a.m. workout. But even those fun activities soon lost their luster, Jacobson said.

“They worked well for about the first two or three months, but people got a bit virtual-ed out,” she said. “There were just too many meetings. We had to slow down. Now, I have managers setting up 15-minute check-ins with people every other week and formally once a month, just to see how people are doing and how projects are going.”

Taylor of Coca-Cola has adopted a similar approach. 

“For me, the lesson is brevity,” she said. “We’re mindful of the time span of meetings, having an agenda and yielding the floor to associates so they have an opportunity to be part of the conversation. It’s not just one person talking for 45 minutes. We’re constantly asking about the day-to-day workload and getting feedback.”

 That’s an approach endorsed by Katheryn Heinz, a consultant who works with companies on meeting strategies. While virtual events such as birthday celebrations and contests may help morale, a more permanent impact can be made on a company’s culture by ensuring virtual employees are recognized for contributions and productivity, she said. 

“Bonding is important for growth and efficacy, but that’s difficult when you’re staring at someone and yourself [on the screen],” she said. “Sometimes people’s virtual parties build team cohesion, but people also need to see how their contributions are productive, because feeling productive is huge for morale. If a group can creatively come up with solutions or make contributions toward solutions and know how those suggestions will be considered and incorporated, you’ll have a bonded team.”

Employers can build stronger connections while working remotely by acknowledging their employees have lives outside of work that they must deal with as well, she added.

“What people don’t need is their time wasted,” said Heinz. “Loyalty will come if you’re aware of the employee’s whole reality, not just what goes on in a phone call.” 


Five tips for an engaging online team meeting

1.           Make it meaningful. Have an agenda and stick to it.

2.           Keep it short. 

3.           Consider one-on-one or small group check-ins rather than a massive video call.

4.           Allow time for employees to contribute ideas and brainstorm.

5.           Make social activities voluntary. 

Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Sales & Services Company, LLC (CCBSS) Completes Acquisition of Business Services North America (BSNA)

Atlanta, GA, December 31, 2019 – Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Sales & Services Company (CCBSS) today announced that it has completed the acquisition of Business Services North America (BSNA). A definitive agreement for this deal was reached on September 17, 2019 with Coca-Cola Refreshments (CCR).

Combining the talents and resources of both CCBSS and BSNA will allow the combined organization to better support the North America Coca-Cola bottling business. The Coca-Cola Company marked a major milestone during the fourth quarter of 2017 with nearly 70 independent Coca-Cola bottlers across the United States running their trucks and bottling operations as a fully refranchised system. CCBSS and BSNA are now one company offering services to the refranchised system in the areas of Customer Business Solutions, Procurement, Human Resources, Customer Care Center, and Finance.

“As a combined organization, CCBSS and BSNA will achieve important synergies to be a world-class, high capability shared services business,” said Brandi Shortt, president and CEO of CCBSS. “We will be singularly focused on delivering better quality, exceptional service and cost value. Bringing CCBSS and BSNA together as one family will allow us to increase the depth and breadth of our expertise, as well as reduce complexity to become easier to do business with for the Coca-Cola system.”


Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Sales and Services (CCBSS) is a limited liability company owned by nearly 70 North American independent Coca-Cola bottlers. The company supports operations for its bottler owners as well as bottler-owned production cooperatives, Coca-Cola North America (CCNA) and other participating beverage partners across the Coca-Cola System.


Contact: For more information, please contact Tricia Taylor at 404-683-2369 or

CCBSS Team Member’s Join the Conversation for Change during the 2019 One Young World Summit

CCBSS team members, Eric Bahnsen, Ashlynn Figura, Jennifer Garrett and Njeri Wainaina, recently joined young change-makers (more than 2,000 delegates) from over 190 countries to hear from some of the world’s leading companies, non-profits and influencers as part of One Young World Summit 2019. The annual event convenes the brightest young talent from every country and sector, working to accelerate social impact. This year, the key topics were education, planetary health, poverty alleviation, media freedom, and peaceful future.

Our CCBSS ambassadors participated in four transformative days of speeches, panels, networking and workshops. Participants made lasting connections throughout the Summit, celebrating their involvement and efforts to make a world changing difference.

The summit was both informative and inspirational according Eric, Ashlynn, Jennifer and Njeri. Furthermore, they were amazed at the changes that have come from previous One Young World conferences. “The summit was also an opportunity to connect with other young leaders and share experiences that have challenged my perspective and inspired me to take a look at how I can, by even just a small action, start to change the world” said Njeri. She has now started to view tasks and projects from the perspective of how she can support the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals through her day-to-day work.

Eric was most impressed by the diversity of delegates he met. He even spent time with several delegates who handle pricing in India, explaining “I learned that while our roles are very similar, the landscape is drastically different”. Eric gained valuable knowledge and insight which he knows he will leverage in his role given the number of best practice sharing conversations he had during One Young World.

What Jennifer took away from her One Young World experience was the importance of a strong sense of wellbeing, purpose and wholeness. “By lending that hand (or ear), I hope I can begin to break down some of the barriers that divide us and hopefully others will follow to become a more united, engaged, and resilient CCBSS” said Jennifer.

The four CCBSS team members unanimously agreed that their favorite part of the trip was a scavenger hunt through the city of London. Not only were they able to explore London, but they had the opportunity to meet and network with the other 72 Coca-Cola system delegates (representing 29 countries).  “Even though it was raining on and off throughout the day, we still had a great time”, said Jennifer.

All in all, the team had a great time and more importantly they now have a greater appreciation for sustainability, diversity and community service. The overarching message our CCBSS delegates received was that small changes can make a tremendous impact.

CCBSS helps raise $650k for C5

Each year, CCBSS leads the Coca-Cola System’s effort to support the incredibly important work of C5, a national program which provides immersive leadership experiences and access to life changing opportunities for more than 1,000 high-potential youth from across the country. Recently, some 15 CCBSS team members volunteered to plan, host and support the 14th annual C5 Coca-Cola Golf Classic. This was a great opportunity for the team to continue to show their support of the invaluable work of C5 Georgia and continue to strengthen relationships with key suppliers and partners.  More importantly, the event grossed $650k for C5. To date, our sponsors have helped raise over $9MM for C5 This outstanding accomplishment was the result of CCBSS team members and 53 supplier sponsors.

C5 endeavors to empower students to develop the confidence, skills and motivation they need to live healthy and productive lives. Since its inception, the Coca-Cola Golf Classic and volunteerism have allowed more than 5,000 young leaders to participate in C5 program s. Approximately 82 percent of C5 participants are the first generation in their household to go to college. In addition, nearly 94 percent of C5 graduates will enroll in a postsecondary education programs. Overall, there is a 91percent retention rate with the students in the C5 five-year program.

CCBSS is proud of the volunteerism its team members do to make a lasting impact in the communities where we live and work. This year’s C5 Coca-Cola Golf Classic is just one example of the company’s commitment to community service and corporate social responsibility.

CCBSS Team Member Named 2019 Georgia Minority Supplier Diversity Council Buyer of the Year

It is our pleasure to announce that John Kocinski has been named the 2019 Georgia Minority Supplier Diversity Council Buyer of the Year in the Professional Services category! This is John’s second consecutive year receiving this distinguished honor.

The Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council (GMSDC) is the state’s leading advocacy organization for small business development and supplier diversity. Their primary focus is simple – to certify minority business enterprise firms, help them prepare to engage global supply chains, and then facilitate partnerships with corporations and governments in need of their goods and services.

Kocinski, a six-year Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Sales & Services (CCBSS) team member, explained, “I’m honored and humbled to be recognized by GSMDC, one of the leading minority business development organizations in the Country. The vibrant energy and passion of this council are matched by the suppliers to drive prosperity to the people and businesses across the State of Georgia.”

The Buyer of the Year, Professional Services award is given to the buyer of a Corporate-Member Partner who continues to drive diversity spend. The Professional Services category covers any spend that is related to direct materials, indirect materials, MRO (maintenance, repair and operating supplies), and energy.

“One of our primary objectives here at CCBSS is to drive value and innovation across the Coca-Cola System by championing supplier diversity; this is important to us because we know a diverse supplier base increases our competitive advantage, supports local communities and strengthens our procurement efforts,” commented CCBSS Chief Procurement Officer, Suzana Keller. She added, “John is an ambassador in this area and his work has made a tremendous difference.”

This year, John (representing CCBSS) was joined by individuals with companies such as Delta Air Lines, UPS, SunTrust Banks and Georgia Power who also received recognition. CCBSS could not be prouder of the supplier diversity work John continues to drive on behalf of the Coca-Cola System.

Chief Procurement Officer Appointment

Suzana Keller has been named Chief Procurement Officer for Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Sales & Services Company (CCBSS) effective March 4, 2019 reporting to Brandi Shortt, CCBSS President and CEO. Suzana will have further accountability to the Bottler Procurement Advisory Committee and the CCBSS Board of Directors.

In her role, Suzana will lead the CCBSS Procurement organization and be responsible for ensuring the function’s goal attainment. She will collaborate with leaders across the North American Coca-Cola bottling system, Coca-Cola North America (CCNA) and suppliers in order to serve the organization’s customers in the areas of value creation, risk mitigation and delivering a competitive advantage.

Suzana brings a wide range of expertise and business acumen to CCBSS. Most recently, she was the Vice President of Supply Chain for EIS Inc., a subsidiary of Genuine Parts Company, directing North American supply chain and procurement initiatives beginning in 2017. Prior to EIS, from 2016 – 2017, she served as HD Supply’s Head of Manufacturing and Distribution Operations Transformation. From 2015 – 2016, before joining HD Supply, Suzana worked as the Strategy & Transformation Lead for CSM Bakery Solutions.

Suzana also has an extensive Coca-Cola System background. She completed a ten-year tenure with the System beginning in 2005, securing positions of increasing responsibility primarily focused on strategy development with Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) and Coca-Cola Refreshments (CCR). She led the newly created National Supply Planning Center of Excellence with CCR, and was the Market Unit Vice President, Field Operations, for CCR’s Arizona and New Mexico Market Unit.

With more than 20 years of operations, procurement and supply chain leadership experience, Suzana is widely recognized for her extensive knowledge and capability in the areas of organizational transformation, proficiency building and integration initiatives. Her appointment represents the company’s deliberate focus on being easier with which to do business. Suzana believes in developing and maintaining operational partnerships which generate significant value and sustained success. Suzana started her career in Big 4 consulting with 8 years of experience at KPMG and Ernst & Young. She received an Executive MBA from Emory University and holds a BS in Information Systems & Decision Science from Louisiana State University.

2019 Annual CCBSS Supplier Summit

Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Sales & Services Company, LLC (CCBSS) recently hosted its third annual Supplier Summit on February 11, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. This symposium is designed to celebrate the successes of the company’s most valued suppliers. The Supplier Summit brought together 59 suppliers, CCBSS team members and numerous Coca-Cola system executives to discuss various ways to strength partnerships, improve communications and better define scope.

The event began with celebrating successes against the three key deliverables issued during the 2017 CCBSS Supplier Summit: Cost of Entry, Mitigate Risk and Create Shared Value. Attendees then had an opportunity to ideate solutions aimed at making it easier to do business with the North American Coca-Cola system as it endeavors to be a ‘Customer of Choice’ to suppliers. Interactive workshops and networking sessions were held to help facilitate this objective. The 2019 Supplier Summit concluded with an exciting awards ceremony.

Congratulations again to the award winners listed below:

Supplier of the Year


Breakthrough Year

Ball and Unifirst

Performance Excellence

Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), CKS Packaging and HB Fuller