Swagger New York touts Will.i.am and Coke's Ekocyle

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Coca-Cola' s plastic bottles are recycled and end up in board shorts, Levi's and Dr. Dre Beats headphones. The Ekocycle program is a hit and growing, particularly among young audiences.

Check out the latest in innovative recycling of products normally put in trash bins. Ekocyle is a partnership between The Coca-Cola Company and entertainer Will.i.am.

Ekocyle is also the name of a brand that can be licensed for a price and slapped on products that use at least 25% of recyclables in the manufacturing process.

In the press release announcing the launch of Ekocyle Coke explained the purpose:

"The initiative supports recycling by helping consumers recognize that items they consider waste today may be a part of a lifestyle product they can use tomorrow."

For his part Will.i.am explained the larger picture for the initiative:

"By making products that contain recycled materials more attractive to both businesses and consumers, everyone can do their part to keep the cycle going to turn discarded waste into cool, new items."

The effort launched with participation by Beats by Dr. Dre® and New Era®, but has expanded in the two years since its inception.

The singer-songwriter was a regular fixture during broadcasts of NBA games this spring.

The basketball league has signed on along with its merchandising partner Adidas. It currently markets merchandise under the auspices of the Ekocycle program. It rolled out a t-shirt just prior to the commencement of playoffs, with both the NBA and Adidas logos paired with the Ekocyle graphic.

The NBA explained its components. "The shirt is made with 50 percent rPET and 50 percent organic cotton, with the rPET component comprised of three assorted recycled PET bottles."

At the recent Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, Ad Age reported on seeing Levi's brand jeans that included portions of eight plastic Coke bottles.

Take a look at Ekocycle's Facebook page and you can see the lifestyle-sporting brands that have decided to sign on. The RVCA Civil Stripe Trunks were added last week.

Swagger New York, the website that "...allows young people globally to 're-up on cool' through fresh, forward, and fun content from the streets of New York," gave its seal of approval to the fashions with the Ekocycle logo.

At the 2013 Governor's Ball music festival on Randall's Island, the site noted that, "Everyone from artists to music fans and fashion kids went crazy for the made-from-recycled-materials hats, tees, Levi’s and tote bags."

What is Coke doing with the licensing fees? It will donate its portion of licensing profits from the EKOCYCLE brand initiative to support additional recycling and community improvement organizations.

The company announced that, "This donation is in addition to, and separate from, the charitable commitments of 1 percent of operating profits made through The Coca-Cola Foundation."

Coke has plans to be a "zero waste" operation in the very near future. With the cache of Will.i.am and his ties to a young demographic as well as sports and entertainment brands, the Ekocycle program looks to be an example of innovative thinking.

Image: Google Images