March 18 – More and more plastic waste is being diverted from landfills and into a circular economy that grows employment and entrepreneurship in African countries, as we celebrate Global Recycling Day today (March 18).
Food and beverage packaging is an important part of modern life, helping to ensure food safety and reduce food waste, yet the world has a packaging problem that requires a comprehensive response.
As part of its responsibility to help address this challenge, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA), together with The Coca-Cola Company, has set ambitious goals to help collect a bottle or can for every one it produces by 2030, use 50% recycled content in all packaging and make 25% of its packaging reusable by the same year, while making all its packaging 100% recyclable by 2025.
The initiative, called World Without Waste, relies on partnerships with customers, consumers communities, industry and governments to succeed.
With many initiatives under way across CCBA’s territories, a few recent highlights include the move to clear Sprite PET in six markets which makes it much easier to recycle and has greater value as a recyclable material. Another milestone is the extension of the PETCO model, which is based on the principle of Extended Producer Responsibility, to three additional markets since its inception in South Africa and plans for further rollout to a total of eight markets. CCBA also started using returnable 2L PET in South Africa with the view to roll this out to other markets.
CCBA Group Head of Sustainability Diana Sibanda said the company was developing increasingly sustainable ways to manufacture, distribute and sell its products.
“We use our industry leadership to be part of the solution to achieve positive change in the world and to build a more sustainable future for our planet,” she said.
Locally, in Ghana, CCBA subsidiary Voltic (GH) Ltd has partnered with aggregators to collect bottles from pickup points around the capital and is also working with Total Energies and plastic waste pickers such as Coliba, SESA and Beach Cleanup Ghana to establish collection points at filling stations and other sites, where waste pickers can deliver used PET bottles for payment.
The PET is then bought by recyclers to use as feedstock for the production of recycled products.
Voltic holds monthly buy-back events in communities to raise awareness on the value of plastic waste and stimulate recycling activity.
In South Africa, CCBSA partnered with Matongoni Recycling Group to provide a much-needed boost to the collection of PET bottles in rural communities in Limpopo Province.
CCBSA worked with Matongoni and community groups and households to buy collected and sorted waste material and transport it to its two recycling depots in Polokwane and Johannesburg.
With the bottler providing a transport subsidy to Matongoni, collection trucks were able to cover a wider area, and a subsidy on collected materials gave locals a bigger incentive to go into the environment and collect as much waste as they could find.
In Uganda, CCBA partnered with the local council, recycling companies and Koyinawo Waste Management Services to clean up Mbarara City by collecting plastic waste in the communities of Makenke and Lubiiri.
The clean-up drive contributed to the company’s commitment to collect 75% of bottles produced in 2022 and saw the collection of 676kg of plastic.
The Rethink Plastics campaign was launched at Kiswa Primary School by the Uganda Scouts Association in partnership with Worldwide Fund for Nature and CCBA under the theme ‘Rethink Plastic, Saving our planet together, one challenge at a time’. The campaign seeks to create awareness and grassroots education on the responsible use and disposal of plastic waste across the country.