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Proceeds from recycling at Mercedes-Benz Stadium builds new homes on Atlanta's Westside through new program

The program turns the profits from recycling at games, concerts, and big events at Mercedes Benz Stadium into low income housing in that same neighborhood.

ATLANTA — If you've ever enjoy a Coca-Cola at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, you may have helped build a home for a family in need.

The stadium has teamed up with Habitat for Humanity and Novelis to recycle drink cans and plastic bottles, and turn the profit from recycling them into houses on the Westside of Atlanta.

"Our porch, the front porch is our favorite part here, because we are able to sit out here and talk, smile at the neighbors as they go by," RaShawn Medley said.

Three million cans helped build RaShawn Medley's front porch in 2017.

While cans helped build her entire home, Medley said, more importantly, they helped build a community.

"Something that's so small to someone, it can be so big to someone else. That little piece of aluminum, that plastic, how far it goes," she said.

Habitat for Humanity has worked with recycling company Novelis and AMB Sports and Entertainment (AMBSE) to turn the profits from recycling at games, concerts, and big events at Mercedes Benz Stadium into low income housing in that same neighborhood.

Medley is settled in on the Westside and has volunteered 300 hours of her own time there to help other people build their own homes.

"I am doing the second coat of paint for my windows and my porch," Tammy Redding said.

She's helping people like Redding, who Novelis selected for their current build.

Redding said she still can't believe it.

"Amazing, amazing, because it's mine. Its' all mine," she said.

Redding grew up in Atlanta and has worked with special needs kids in public schools her whole adult life, but she's never been able to afford her own place.

"We are living in a moment of a true housing crisis. Affordable housing has been an issue always, but it's at a crisis point in our community," said Rosalyn Merrick, the interim CEO and President of Habitat for Humanity of Atlanta.

Merrick said creative programs and partnerships like the recycling initiative will build meaningful change in the community.

"Our vision is that everyone in Atlanta have access to safe and affordable housing in vibrant neighborhoods across Atlanta. And we are doing that in partnership with companies like Novellis as they provide sponsorships and homes," Merrick said.

It's a commitment their partners at Mercedes-Benz Stadium take seriously.

"There's an opportunity for the fan who comes into the stadium, for the product they enjoy watching the field, the pitch, the concert stage, for that product to be collected, sorted, recycled, and through that process, we can give back right here on the Westside," said Tim Zulewski, the Chief Revenue Officer for AMBSE.

Zulewski said fans are helping to make a difference.

This is the program's third build, but they've already collected enough cans to start plans for their fourth build on the Westside.

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