Americans go through a lot of plastic soda bottles every year. A lot. And it turns out we only recycle about 20% of them, which is pretty disappointing. Sure, conventional plastic can't be recycled over and over, but a recycled bottle does help reduce the amount of new petroleum we use in plastic production.
Coca Cola saw this problem too, and they decided to do something about it. Back in 2006, they teamed up with chair-maker Emeco to design and manufacture chairs using PET soda bottles from their recycle plant in South Carolina. It's called the 111 Navy Project, and the aim is to show that recycled plastic does have value and encourage more folks to toss those empties into their blue bins.
The chairs are made up of a mix of 60% rPET and 40% pigment and glass fiber, to make sure the finished product is sturdy. Emeco is using the same design that they first created in 1944 for the U.S. Navy. Each chair takes 111 empty bottles to make, and according to Gregg Buchbinder at Emeco that adds up to, "the potential of reusing the PET from about 3 million plastic bottles a year." That's a lot of plastic diverted from the landfill!
Coke and Emeco started designing the 111 Navy Chairs back in 2008 and completed the first prototype just this month. They launched them last week at the Milan Furniture Fair. You can find the 111 Navy Chair on Emeco's website for $230 apiece.