200,000 Coke cans = 1 giant artwork

A classic 1940s Coke poster has been recreated using 200,000 crushed cans to mark the start of Recycle Week

A 1940s Coke ad has been recreated using 200,000 crushed cans to mark the start of Recycle Week

The 50m long artwork was created on the Sussex coast by a team of artists led by Robert Bradford and took a week to complete. It’s based on this 1949 billboard ad by artist Haddon Sundblom who painted many of Coke’s most famous poster images.

The point, Coke says, is to encourage people to recycle their used cans. As with all ‘green’ campaigns there is a slightly bewildering comparative statistic to reinforce the importance of this: “At the end of Recycle Week [June 22-28] each of the 200,000 cans will be recycled saving enough energy to keep a television running for seventy years.” According to Coke, if you recycle your used can, it could reappear on the shelves filled with yet more tooth-endangering flavoured water in just six weeks. Marvellous.

Of course, there’s not much point doing all this awareness-raising if there’s nowhere nearby in which to put your cans for recycling: Coke is, we are told, working with the recycling body WRAP to install Recycle Zones around the UK in places like places like shopping centres, theme parks, airports and university campuses (20 so far, another 60 by 2011).

Here’s a little film about the whole project

It’s hard to be anything but cynical about Coke’s new-found interest in conserving the earth’s resources but if the exercise encourages more people to recycle then fair enough. We can’t help wondering whether all that time and effort couldn’t have been put toward creating a more interesting final image though.

Robert Bradford – Lead Artist
Paul Cross – Production Designer
Jason Hawkes – Aerial Photography Specialist
Norfolk Environmental Waste Services – provider of cans and final recycling destination

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