General Trias, Cavite—Doubling efforts to rid the environment of post-consumer plastic waste, Coca-Cola Philippines and Plastic Bank announced concerted efforts to double the haul of PET plastic bottles to 10 million metric tons in 2022 in observance of the World Oceans Day.
Coca-Cola Philippines president Antonio del Rosario said the collaboration, in its 2nd year, aims to address and resolve the global packaging waste issue while improving the lives of partner collectors and junk shops enrolled in the Plastic Bank Ecosystem Impact Program.
“At Coca-Cola, we recognize that we have a big role to play in helping solve the plastic waste problem,” del Rosario said during the Ecosystem Impact Week launch on June 8 at Robinsons Place General Trias.
A social enterprise project, the collaboration between Coca-Cola and Plastic Bank will also benefit small-scale entrepreneurs and individuals by collecting plastic bottles and depositing the same to accredited malls. A collection booth has been set up for consumers visiting the mall, where they can bring clean and used plastic bottles which will be repurposed by a third party recycling partner.
Coca-Cola Philippines, Plastic Bank, and the local government of General Trias, Cavite teamed up to educate more Filipinos on the value of collecting and recycling recyclable plastics.
“With partners like Plastic Bank, the government, non-government organizations, civil society, industry, and private sectors, we know that a ‘World Without Waste’ with measurable, positive impact is possible,” Del Rosario said.
Plastic Bank is a social enterprise that builds collection and recycling ecosystems in coastal communities by working directly with individuals in the informal waste sector and micro and small enterprises like junk shops.
Through the Plastic Bank Ecosystem, collector partners are given access to training, tools and equipment for efficient waste collection and a source of livelihood. The program also connects collector partners to the market, either through material recovery facilities or junk shops that buys their collections to ensure the sustainability of the program.
A testimonial from Jenny Arcilla, owner of Jecka Junkshop, provided insight on how small business contribute to making the oceans clean and safe for marine animals and how humans benefit from the practice.
In January 2022, Arcilla turned her business into a Plastic Bank Partner branch. Through the partnership, her shop was refurbished and given the proper equipment, ensuring safe working conditions for her all-female staff. After receiving training, they also learned how to use the Plastic Bank app, which assists shop owners in tracking collections and sharing their waste collection impact online.
“Sa tulong ng Coca-Cola at Plastic Bank, na-upgrade ko ang negosyong simulan namin ng aking asawa. Nakaka-prouddin na hindi lang pamilya ko ang aking natutulungan, pati na rin ang mga kababaihan sa aming komunidad,” said Arcilla.
In January, Vicky Advincula also began working as a plastic collector in General Trias. While currently employed as a street sweeper, Advincula also collects and cleans recyclable plastics that are sold to junk shops.
In 2018, The Coca-Cola Company announced its global goal to help collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle and can it sells by 2030 to achieve its vision of a ‘World Without Waste’.
Coca-Cola Philippines has since invested in community programs and critical infrastructure to make the recycling value chain a reality.
PETValue, the first bottle-to-bottle recycling plant in the Philippines located at General Trias, is expected to process 30,000 metric tons of plastic PET bottles and produce around 16,000 metric tons of recycled PET resins every year.
The facility works under a closed-loop recycling system, processing post-consumer plastic bottles and turning these into recycled bottles, allowing them to reenter the supply chain.
The PETValue facility once operational will generate more than 200 local jobs that will support the livelihood of individuals within the waste value chain.
Coca-Cola Philippines continues to work towards supporting strategic collection partners at the institutional and community levels across the country to adequately supply the plant with recyclable material for recycling.
“At Coca-Cola, we realize that we cannot achieve our ‘World Without Waste’ goals alone. As we look forward to the full operations this year of PETValue, we will need the collaboration and support of individuals and communities as we together help to create a circular economy for PET plastic in the Philippines, starting here in General Trias City,” Del Rosario said.