Plastic pollution is a global problem that has caused serious consequences to marine life, the environment, and society as a whole with an estimated 8 million tons of plastic waste entering the ocean annually.
Recognizing the low collection and recycling rates in the country and the opportunity to drive circular economy solutions, Coca-Cola Philippines, through its social investment arm, Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, is continuously partnering with NGOs to implement sustainable solid waste management programs at the community level.
Together with its long-time partner WWF-Philippines, and with additional funding from The Coca-Cola Foundation (the global philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company), Coca-Cola is piloting diverse plastic diversion systems tailored to different communities in the country.
“The global scale of plastic pollution makes it a problem that requires strong, impactful partnerships and sustainable solutions. That is why we partner with like-minded organizations like WWF-Philippines to help us provide circular waste solutions that will not only do good for the environment but can also educate people to be part of the solution and uplift the lives of Filipinos,” said Cecile Alcantara, President of the Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines.
Tailor-fitted waste management solutions developed and implemented with local communities
The 10-month project will involve four different types of communities from highly urbanized cities, coastal communities, islands, and lowlands in Davao City, San Isidro in Davao Oriental, Island Garden City of Samal, and Donsol in Sorsogon.
By piloting different waste management strategies based on the four predominant landscapes in the country, the project aims to provide a sustainable collection system and plastic diversion mechanism that can be replicated across the Philippines.
It also considers the challenges in the country’s waste management systems, notably lack of infrastructure and resources, and the country’s archipelagic nature.
The project will include waste management and recycling learning sessions for local organizations in the community, building or strengthening local collection/recycling points, and identifying and scaling local entrepreneurial solutions to help provide additional income for our stakeholders while contributing to increasing city waste collection.
“Working towards the vision of no plastics in nature by 2030, it is important to work in partnership with relevant actors in the value chain, especially companies like Coca-Cola who are leaders in their industry,” said Katherine Custodio, WWF-PH executive director.
“This big and multifaceted issue of plastic pollution amidst our broader challenge of loss of nature and climate change requires effective and grounded solutions, and above all the courage to take urgent action among all stakeholders.”
The partnership with WWF-Philippines demonstrates the long-term commitment of Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines to involve communities and educate them about proper and sustainable solid waste management.
Hand-in-hand toward a world without waste
Meanwhile, Coca-Cola Philippines continues its commitment to reaching its goal of a World Without Waste through various partnerships with Plastic Bank, Philippine Business for Social Progress, Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation (AIDFI), and other like-minded organizations.
These different partnerships look at the potential of recyclable plastic packaging, not as waste, but as a valuable resource material that can be used over and over again if properly collected and recycled.
At present, the company, in partnership with Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, has empowered nearly 40 zero waste communities in 22 provinces across the country to help prevent recyclable plastic waste from ending up in oceans and landfills.
The company also continues to prioritize not only the collection and recycling of every bottle they sell but the empowerment and support for the waste sector industry, from garbage collectors to street recyclable collectors to community groups.
Through key program partnerships, Coca-Cola opens up potential opportunities for additional stable and sustainable income streams to this sector, while enabling stakeholder participation.
Moreover, part of the company’s commitment toward a World Without Waste is accelerating the launch of the state-of-the-art 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.
Touted as the largest bottle-to-bottle recycling plant in the Philippines, the PHP1B facility is expected to process around 30,000 metric tons of used recyclable PET bottles—or nearly 2 billion clear plastic bottles—and produce around 16,000 metric tons of recycled PET resin every year.
The facility was granted “pioneer status” by the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI), recognizing that the green technologies to be employed by PETValue will be the first of their kind in the country.
PETValue is expected to be operational by the first quarter of 2022.
“We are very excited about this project, and we have been proactively reaching out to various government units to establish our collection network for PETValue,” shares Gareth McGeown, President and CEO of CCBPI.
“The potential for packaging sustainability is huge. With a total system in place, we can truly demonstrate that plastic bottles are valuable resources, and therefore, should not end up in landfills or waterways but diverted to our PETValue instead.”
These programs further the World Without Waste vision of Coca-Cola, in which the company aims to collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle sold by 2030.