Not wasting anything
Alumnus manages global sustainability programs for The Coca-Cola Company
If April Crow were to see you tossing a bottle into the trash, she undoubtedly would tap you on the shoulder and convince you to change your ways.
Crow (BS ’95) likely would direct you to the nearest recycling bin, one that she herself might have helped put in place. And she certainly would have convinced you of the many economic, social and environmental benefits of recycling waste in a world of finite resources. Working as the global sustainability director for packaging at Coca-Cola, she’s been at the forefront of the company’s and beverage industry’s mission for healthier waste management.
Crow began working with Coca-Cola 18 years ago as an intern. A recent graduate with a degree in environmental health science, she was determined to stick with the company and apply her passions to help the world’s most recognized brand also become the world’s greenest brand.
While her original interest was in working for an environmental nonprofit organization, Crow says once she got to Coke she realized she could have a real influence there.
After moving around the company, Crow decided to focus primarily on Coke’s packaging and what happens to it after the product is sold. Now her work combines both her interests and is part of one of the largest recycling efforts in the world.
“It’s nice to be able to look back at the courses I took at UGA and how I’m now using what I learned,” she says. “My work gives me the opportunity to feel like I’m making a difference in the world.”
Crow works with nonprofit, government and other industry organizations to implement green and efficient waste management systems. In addition to the programs in American communities, she also takes her efforts to the 200-plus other countries in which Coca-Cola operates.
“I love the global aspect,” she says. “No matter where I go in the world people recognize Coca-Cola.”
The work Crow enjoys the most are the programs she helps launch within developing and emerging markets. By working with other parties and educating the public about the benefits of recycling, she helps them improve the informal waste systems that are common in those markets. Crow helps expand recycling cooperatives that support economic and social development.
Back home in Georgia, Crow worked with Atlanta-based Delta Airlines to launch their onboard recycling initiative, and did similar work with Turner Field. Nationally, she collaborates with organizations like Keep America Beautiful, and works with celebrities such as will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas to develop campaigns to encourage recycling.
Through the outreach of Coca-Cola, Crow has tailored her passions, weaving her love for the company and the environment.
“I couldn’t have planned it better. I’ve been able to combine my passion for Coca-Cola and my interest in sustainability.”