Aquafina, Sam’s Club ‘Return the Warmth’

Aquafina and Sam’s Club recently handed out 25,000 fleece jackets to 100 schools. What made this winter wear unusual was the fact that it was created from 189 million bottles collected as part of the “Share the warmth” program.

Local communities and schools were challenged to recycle 80 million plastic bottles during the “Great American cleanup,” which took place between March and May. The goal was far exceeded.

As a reward, the top 100 schools received the jackets and the top 50 received a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card.

The program, now in its third year, “presented the perfect opportunity to educate our children on the need to recycle and instill positive recycling habits at an early age,” said Mario Palomino, director of sales at Aquafina’s parent company, Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages. “In addition, this program reinforces our corporate and social responsibility to conserve, reuse and recycle energy and natural resources to protect our world.”

Bottled water continues to come under fire. The New York City Council announced yesterday that it is looking to prohibit the municipal government from buying bottled water for office buildings. San Francisco and Seattle have already instituted such a policy.

Aquafina is the No. 1 selling water brand in the country. For the first half of the year, it owned a 13.9 share, per Beverage Digest. However, volume was down 11.3 percent as the category as a whole has begun to flatten out.

Sam’s Club and Aquafina spent $13 million and $10 million, respectively, on U.S. media for the first nine months of this year (not counting online spending), per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.