World Without Waste

The Coca-Cola Company breaks down the ins-and-outs of plastic recycling to demystify the process in a new animated film narrated by science icon Bill Nye.

Mackinnon & Saunders, the award-winning animators and puppeteers behind Fantastic Mr. Fox, Corpse Bride and more, created the stop-motion film featuring an animated—and recycled—likeness of Nye who explains the end-to-end recycling process. With Nye narrating in his signature, straightforward style, the film takes viewers on the circular journey of a plastic bottle, starting from the time it’s placed in a recycling bin to returning to the shelf as a 100% recycled bottle (excluding cap and label).



The Coca-Cola Company has teamed up with Bill Nye to unveil an animated, stop-motion short film that illustrates the holistic recycling process for plastic bottles.

The film takes viewers on the circular journey of a plastic bottle, starting from the time it’s placed in a recycling bin to it coming back on the shelf as a 100% recycled bottle (excluding cap and label) – in other words, how both the company and consumers can work together to “close the loop.”




“As we know, we need to reuse plastic,” says Bill Nye. “That’s why I’m partnering with The Coca-Cola Company to show the science behind the process of recycling and how we can continue to address the global plastic waste crisis, together.”

While roughly 59% of Americans have access to curbside recycling[1], 27% of plastic bottles are currently recycled[2] in the United States.

“Recycling can be confusing for consumers,” said Christine Yeager, Sustainability Director, North America Operating Unit, The Coca-Cola Company. “We need to be able to articulate, in a clear, easy-to-understand way, how recycling helps drive a circular economy by using and reusing materials again and again. That brought us to the idea of using Bill’s knack for communicating about complex topics in a simple way. We wanted to make this process more digestible for consumers, so they understand the science behind recycling and hopefully feel inspired to take action with us.”

Mackinnon & Saunders shot the film in Cheshire, England, on a set made with recyclable and recycled materials. Plastic bottles, labels and cardboard were incorporated into all aspects of the production—from Nye’s puppet caricature made from cut-up plastic Coca-Cola bottles (his tie was made from a Coke label), to trees made from green Sprite labels, to conveyor belts designed from recyclable cardboard.

“We wanted to stay true to the whole ethos of recycling,” said Glenn Holberton, producer, Mackinnon & Saunders. “So, working with Production Designer Andy Farago, we built the sets and backgrounds as a model kit-of-parts, which meant we could re-dress set elements for multiple shots, making use of them as much as possible.”

Director Mole Hill added, “Through stop-motion animation, we took an engaging, direct and fun approach to getting across the message that plastic bottles are designed to be easily recycled and come back around in a closed-loop process.”

The film, which debuted at the start of Earth Month, complements The Coca-Cola Company’s “Recycle and Re-Enjoy It” campaign and supporting activation at the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Final Fours in New Orleans and Minneapolis. All beverage bottles and cans collected inside the host arenas were recycled so they can be repurposed into new beverage packaging thanks to a partnership between Coca-Cola North America and Circular Solutions Advisors.

Additionally, Coca-Cola North America is taking steps to enhance community recycling infrastructures, improve access to curbside recycling and build consumer awareness in collaboration with The Recycling Partnership, The American Beverage Association’s Every Bottle Back Initiative, the U.S. Plastics Pact and Closed Loop Partners.

The company is also reducing its use of virgin PET through a combination of bottle lightweighting and increasing its use of recycled PET packaging.

All of these activations support The Coca-Cola Company’s global World Without Waste sustainable packaging initiative to collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one it sells by 2030; make 100% of its packaging recyclable by 2025; and use at least 50% recycled material in its packaging by 2030.

[1] Source: The Recycling Partnership, 2020 State of Curbside Recycling.pdf




Folks are more likely to engage in a cause they understand – so, to tell the story of The Coca-Cola Company’s closed loop recycling process, we sought to create a film that was both a narrative and physical testament to the concept of re-use. The result is a stop-motion animated “World Without Waste”, in which the pieces of the film itself – including it’s narrator Bill Nye – are built out of recycled materials including used bottles, labels, and cardboard.

Creative Director / Writer: Nicholas Rotondi
Director: Mole Hill
Lead Producer: Glenn Holberton
Talent: Bill Nye
Agency: M&C Saatchi S+E North America
Production: MacKinnon & Saunders


Creatively, the approach to the film was not just about visualizing this process, but also reflected the use of recycled materials throughout — Coca-Cola packaging, including plastic bottles, labels and cardboard were incorporated into every aspect of the short.

Produced and shot in Cheshire, England, the film features a 10-inch-tall Bill Nye puppet made from recycled Coca-Cola bottles, with a range of 10 different mouth shapes to facilitate lip synching. Six “factory minions” made for the film were also constructed from recycled materials, with each standing about four inches tall. Trees were made by reusing Sprite labels and conveyor belts designed from recyclable cardboard, creating a film that embodies recycling, design and function.

Mackinnon & Saudners also created bespoke miniature drinks bottles to two separate scales, to accommodate the size difference between the Bill Nye and factory minion puppets. The smallest bottle, printed in clear resin, stands just 40mm tall (about 1 ½”). Each second of film consists of 25 individual frames, and the whole process from set build to to final shoot, took about 10 weeks (six of pre-production, three of filming and one week of post-production).

While roughly 59% of Americans have access to curbside recycling, according to The Recycling Partnership’s 2020 study, only 27% of plastic bottles are currently recycled in the U.S. (per NAPCOR).

One of The Coca-Cola Company’s “World Without Waste” goals is to collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one it sells by 2030. The company is also committed to making 100% of its packaging recyclable by 2025 and using at least 50% recycled material in its packaging by 2030. This new film backs up the message that recycling is critical to “closing the loop” — using and reusing the materials in plastic bottles again and again.

“We recognize our responsibility to help address the world’s plastic waste crisis and to help create a closed loop economy, but we can’t do it alone,” said Christine Yeager, Director, Sustainability at The Coca-Cola Company North America. “And who better than Bill Nye to help inspire everyone to understand, think, feel, and behave differently about recycling. Still, there’s much more that needs to be done — which is why we’re also advocating for well-designed collection policy, funding infrastructure and creating greater economic demand for recycled content. But Step One is collecting and recycling our bottles.”


photos: Nicholas Rotondi

Nicholas L. Rotondi


Nicholas L. Rotondi is a New York City-based creative consultant specializing in creative, editorial and content direction, and the strategic ideation, art direction and execution of creative concepts.
His experience extends across the fashion, sport, music, culinary and lifestyle realms, and he has delivered creative projects for brands such as Adidas, Reebok, Sonos, TCCC, Red Bull, Oakley, Natural Light, Busch, Polaroid Originals, Dr. Martens, Campari, William Grant & Sons, Jose Cuervo and more.
He is currently the Executive Creative Director at M&C Saatchi S+E North America.

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What have we learnt?

I heard of Bill Nighy but not Bill Nye – I think a puppet of either of them would look similar!

It’s great to see behind the scenes shots of the work involved in making this animation.