A Coca-Cola Sign(Gallo Images)

The exhibit, which has been in the restricted domestic departures section since May, shows how many bottles and cans an average family uses in three years.

SodaStream marketing manager Francois Dippenaar said the company filled a large cage with 5,078 bottles or cans collected from the dump, which happened to include Coke, Fanta, and Sprite bottles.

"On June 11, we got a cease and desist letter [from Coca-Cola SA] saying we infringe on their trademark rights and contravene Advertising Standards Authority of SA (Asasa) regulations.

"They demanded that we take the stand down and undertake in writing never to do the same thing again."

Dippenaar said the company sent a lawyer's letter back to the company on June 18, stating it would resist any attempt to stop the display.

"We are going to keep on telling the story. It's not only Coca-Cola brands that were displayed."

Coca-Cola SA spokeswoman Zipporah Maubane told Sapa no further legal action had been pursued. She could not comment on whether the company would take the case further. No complaint had been lodged with Asasa.

According to SodaStream, only about 25 percent of all beverage plastics and cans were recycled internationally.

The company had been promoting its re-usable plastic bottle and self-carbonating drinks machine as an environmentally-friendly alternative.

Maubane said Coca-Cola was a leader in recycling and sustainable packaging.

The company was a founder and member of Petco, a local polyethylene terephthalate recycling company. It was also a partner of the Collect-a-Can initiative.