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An innovative program closes the recycling loop by turning cups collected during sporting events into Scrubbing Bubbles bottles.

Kate Bertrand Connolly 1, Freelance Writer

May 25, 2021

2 Min Read
cup of beer
Image: SC Johnson

Racine, WI­–based SC Johnson, the household products company, is taking sustainability in a new direction — upcycling polyethylene terephthalate (PET) cups from professional sports events into bottles for Scrubbing Bubbles cleaner.

The company has partnered with Milwaukee’s baseball and basketball teams, the Brewers and the Bucks, to implement the program. In partnership with the Brewers, SC Johnson started collecting drink cups at American Family Field at the beginning of the 2021 baseball season.

The partnership with the Bucks will start in September 2021 at that team’s venue, Fiserv Forum, and in the surrounding Deer District dining and entertainment neighborhood. The cups also will be used at non-sports events held at Fiserv Forum.

“According to the EPA, just 8% of plastic waste in the United States is recycled, and at SC Johnson, we are not good with that,” Alan VanderMolen, Senior VP and Chief Communications Officer for SC Johnson, told PlasticsToday. “Our partnerships with the Brewers and Bucks enable us to shed light on the important issue of plastic waste by creating a plastic-recycling closed loop at the stadiums and educating fans on how easily they can become part of it through joint signage, pre-game videos, and specially marked cups and bins.”

In both programs, the co-branded drink cups and recycling bins carry the logos of SC Johnson, the venue, and the team, plus a brief description of how the collected cups will be upcycled.

cup for upcycling

Plastic cups collected at Brewers and Bucks games will be upcycled into Scrubbing Bubbles bottles. Image courtesy SC Johnson.

SC Johnson’s effort is noteworthy for creating an end market for collected cups in the form of 100% post-consumer recycled Scrubbing Bubbles bottles. According to the company, the Brewers partnership is the first in which a professional sports venue has collected plastic cups for upcycling.

Logoplaste will supply SC Johnson with the new bottles, which will be decorated with special-edition graphics highlighting the teams’ participation in the upcycling programs. The bottles will start rolling out at retail outlets in 2022.

Pandemic-related capacity limitations at sports venues continue to change, but reduced crowd capacity should not hinder the partnerships. “The Brewers recently announced they will increase fan attendance to 100% by June 25, and the Bucks have increased attendance to 50% for the playoffs,” VanderMolen said. “The increased attendance certainly helps us come closer to our target of collecting more than a million plastic cups at each venue per season.”

The two Milwaukee programs are not limited to the current baseball season or upcoming basketball season. “These are multi-year partnerships, and we want them to serve as a model for other businesses and professional sports teams around the world,” VanderMolen explained, adding that SC Johnson plans “to announce another partnership, global in nature, later this year.”

About the Author(s)

Kate Bertrand Connolly 1

Freelance Writer

Kate Bertrand Connolly has been covering innovations, trends, and technologies in packaging, branding, and business since 1981.

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