Plastic pollution remains a pressing problem in the Philippines and around the world and requires the help and involvement of all sectors of society. Partnership is more critical than ever.
As partners, Coca-Cola Philippines, and Plastic Bank continue to mobilize the collection of ocean-bound plastic while improving the livelihood of local communities in the Philippines. Since their partnership was established in September last year, the partnership is 68% on track towards achieving their target collection of 100,000 kg of used recyclable plastic.
“Collective action to turn the tide on plastic waste is very important and our partnership with Plastic Bank is one of our various partnerships in the Philippines that help bring us closer to our vision of a world without waste. Our thrust is for more communities to look at recyclable plastic packaging as high value material that can be recycled and used multiple times, so it doesn’t end up in the environment. We are pleased with the progress the project has made in improving infrastructure for collection and recycling and providing partner collectors with additional livelihood while they take part in helping the environment,” says Tony del Rosario, President of Coca-Cola Philippines and VP for East Franchise Operations of Coca-Cola ASEAN & South Pacific.
Despite mobility issues caused by the surge in COVID-19 cases in the first quarter of 2021, Coca-Cola Philippines and Plastic Bank managed to adapt and collected 68,797 kg of plastic (or 3.4 million bottles), engaged and empowered 88 collectors, and positively impacted five communities and 316 household members.
“This pandemic has not only helped us grow to adopt more digital processes but also helped us reassess what was essential in achieving our mission. It was through this learning and adaptation within the past two quarter that we were able to stabilize our plastic collection, better plan out our development programs and look to consistently deliver our intended impact in the second half of our partnership with Coca-Cola,” said Paolo delos Reyes, Plastic Bank Philippines Customer and Partnerships Manager.
With the goal of organizing citywide collections, Plastic Bank continues to closely partner with the local government of General Trias, Cavite to activate collection points alongside communities, local junk shops, and individual collectors. Community members are encouraged to adopt Plastic Bank’s collection system that includes the use of the Plastic Bank App that ensures the traceability of the plastic collected. This helps to drive a more efficient collection process.
The program aims to sustainably improve the lives of collector communities. Aside from the premium they get from the material they collect, individual Plastic Bank collectors are also provided with the tools, resources, and equipment they need including pedicabs, COVID-19 safety kits, and training sessions on financial and business literacy.
One of the program’s partner collectors, Ronilo Cirujano is a 56-year-old family man who has been collecting recyclables from homes for 10 years. He has been using his own tricycle to easily move from one home to another in their community.
“Being a Plastic Bank collector helps me provide basic necessities for my wife and three children, especially during a pandemic when livelihood opportunities are harder to find. Through my income from collecting recyclables in General Trias, two of my children were able to finish their studies in college,” Ronilo said.
Meanwhile, plans to improve existing structures of local junk shops (called Plastic Bank partner branches) are underway with improvements targeted to be completed in the middle of the third quarter of the year.
Coca-Cola remains committed to reaching its global vision of a World Without Waste. The company aims to help collect and recycle the equivalent of all the bottles and cans it sells by 2030 and partnership programs are critical to achieving this vision. The company, with the help of the Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, is currently supporting nearly 40 communities in 22 provinces across the country.
Coca-Cola Philippines likewise continues to invest in the development of innovative and sustainable packaging solutions and is forging ahead with the launch of PETValue facility in General Trias Cavite – a joint partnership between its local bottler, Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, and Thailand-based Indorama Ventures, a recognized global leader in packaging solutions and green technology. Granted “pioneer status” by Board of Investments (BOI), this bottle-to-bottle recycling facility aims to produce around 16,000 metric tons of recycled PET resin every year. PETValue is expected to be operational by the first quarter of 2022.