Coca-Cola Philippines teamed up with the Philippine Business for Social Progress and social enterprise Plastic Flamingo for the collection and recycling of plastic polyethylene terephthalate or PET packaging in the community level.
This is in line with the beverage company's aim to help collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle and can it sells by 2030 or the target for its "World Without Waste" vision.
"This is a pressing and urgent issue and we can't solve it alone. We need to collaborate with partners who have similar goals. We're making sure that these initiatives are inclusive and will benefit the environment and those in the informal waste sector," said Anthony "Tony" del Rosario, president of Coca-Cola Philippines and vice president for Coca-Cola Franchise Operations in the East Region (Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Philippines).
As Coca-Cola goes green with PBSP and PLAF to resolve the global plastic packaging problem, the company will provide inclusive circular economy solutions, including projects preventing recyclable packaging from coming into landfills and oceans, and empowering waste collectors by providing training and proper equipment.
"The problem of solid waste, particularly flexible plastic, has skyrocketed during the pandemic and threatens the environment more than ever. This project, while helping the environment, will help waste pickers in Metro Manila earn income from the waste collected," said PBSP executive director Elvin Ivan Uy.
With PLAF and PBSP, Coca-Cola is eyeing to collect 500 metric tons of plastic waste in Metro Manila, starting with Muntinlupa City, over a year. The project also covers educating 27 junk shops and 20 waste collectors in the target area on various types of plastics.
PBSP will give collectors tri-bikes and other resources to boost their health and uplift their lives, such as personal protective equipment, health insurance and vitamins, while PLAF facilities will upcycle the raw materials delivered by junk shops sold from gathered plastic waste by waste collectors.
With the PBSP's advocacy to reduce waste, PLAF's upcycling activities and Coca-Cola's vision of having a world with no waste, the project offers inclusion, responsiveness and sustainability.
"While our advocacy is to lessen waste in the environment, this project also ensures that upcycling activities like PLAF's will help make our waste reduction efforts sustainable," Uy said.
A world without waste would take a long time to reach, but Coca-Cola is speeding up its new PET recycling facility launching in General Trias, Cavite, a joint partnership between Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines and Bangkok-based Indorama Ventures.
The facility is set to produce innovative sustainable packaging and help improve the collection and recycling of PET plastic bottles. It will also be the country's largest bottle-to-bottle recycling facility that can process almost 2 billion plastic bottles a year.
The company has also empowered almost 40 communities in 22 provinces in the Philippines with opportunities to manage their solid waste better, with its partnership with the Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, its local social investment arm.
In Coca-Cola's World Without Waste 2020 report, Coca-Cola's goal to make 100 percent of their packaging recyclable globally by 2025, 90 percent were achieved globally, while in the use of at least 50 percent recycled material in their packaging globally by 2030, 22 percent across all materials and 11.5 percent for PET plastic were achieved.
Meanwhile, a recent scientific study of Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit organization based in the Netherlands that develops advanced technologies to eliminate plastic, identified the Philippines as one of the biggest contributors to plastic waste pollution, with 36 percent ending up in the world's ocean.
The study also revealed that the country's 466 of 1,656 rivers contributed to nearly 80 percent ocean plastic waste, followed by India, 211, and Malaysia, 105. Rushelle Intia
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