#WorldWithoutWaste: Coca-Cola’s mission to make the world a sustainable place to live in

The company is starting in their own backyard – by reducing their plastic waste

BLASTIK. Blastik is Coca-Cola Foundation’s full-circle plastic bottle collection and recycling program in collaboration with Peace Pond, a seaside advocacy community. All photos by Coca-Cola Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – The world’s waste is piling up. 

In 2016, the World Bank Group shared that cities worldwide generated 2.01 billion tons of solid waste or 0.74 kilograms per person a day. With rapid population growth and urbanization, that number is expected to increase by 70% or 3.40 billion tons in 2050. 

This is the problem that Coca-Cola Philippines is committed to solve through its campaign called #WorldWithoutWaste. Launched last year, they aim to use at least 50% recycled content in all their packaging by 2030 and make their packaging 100% recyclable by 2025. 

“We know that the packaging waste issue is a global problem that cannot be solved by one company nor person only. We recognize, however, that we are uniquely positioned to help lead the industry in finding solutions to help address the issue and we are fully committed to taking concrete steps toward making our vision of a World Without Waste come to life,” said Winn Everhart, president and general manager of Coca-Cola Philippines.

Investing for the future

Last June, Coca-Cola Philippines shared a comprehensive plan for packaging sustainability. They announced an investment in a P1-billion bottle-to-bottle recycling facility – a first for the company in Southeast Asia where collected bottles, regardless of brand, will be sorted, ground, and thoroughly cleaned to create new bottles.

 This facility is also expected to generate jobs for Filipinos. Coca-Cola Foundation in partnership with the Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation and Tagum City Council of Women turned sari-sari stores into collection points for used bottles and cans. This way, sari-sari store owners become more than just product distributors but also a crucial part of closing the loop.

They also distributed collections bins in Davao, Siargao, Palawan, and Boracay to help minimize the waste that goes into the landfill  especially during fiestas and celebrations: Araw ng Dabaw, Kadayawan, and Palarong Pambansa. They went on roadshows to teach the public about proper segregation and recycling of plastic bottles. 

“Our aspiration for this facility is to prioritize and close the loop on our packaging specifically here in the country by turning old bottles into new ones, so they do not end up as waste. This facility is a testament to our resolve in making our World Without Waste vision a reality across the country. With this, we aim to create opportunities that will help fuel a more robust approach to leaving a positive impact not just on our value chain, but also on the communities where we operate in,” said Gareth McGeown, president and CEO of Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines Inc. 

In defense of PET bottles

According to Euromonitor International’s global packaging trends report, nearly 483 billion PET bottles or 66 bottles per person on the planet were manufactured in 2016. And it’s only expected to soar in 2021 because of the increasing demand for bottled water in Asia.

The good news is, PET bottles are recyclable. The problem is – not everyone knows that PET bottles can be converted into new bottles or upcycled to new materials such as carpets and clothing. That’s why the Philippines continues to be one of the major contributors to plastic waste in the world together with China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. 

So, to help educate the public, especially the youth, on PET bottles, Coca-Cola Philippines, through Coke Studio, urged musicians to create music that not just champions OPM but advocates for environmental protection as well. They also went on roadshows to teach the public about PET bottles.  

To prove that they can be upcycled, they plan to turn an estimated 9,500 kilograms of PET bottles collected during their concerts and roadshow events into T-shirts, benches, and eco-bricks.

A NEW LEASE ON LIFE. This Coca-Cola bench is made out of recycled PET bottles.

Reimagining sustainable packaging

It was also in 2019 when Coca-Cola Philippines launched Viva! eco-bottle and Sprite®’s new clear plastic packaging. Sharon Garcia-Tanganco, Coca-Cola Philippines marketing director said that they changed Sprite®’s iconic green bottle as clear plastic is easier to recycle. Both beverage brands are made of 100% recycled plastic (RPET). The company plans to use RPET bottles across all its brands in the future. 

ECO-FRIENDLY PACKAGING. Clear plastic bottles are easier to recycle, making them a more sustainable alternative to colored packaging.

“As a company that has been part of Filipino communities for over 100 years, our goal in everything we do is to continue strengthening the foundations of our business and the communities we serve so that we can all grow and thrive long into the future of a litter-free Philippines,” shared Gareth McGeown.

To know more about Coca-Cola’s World Without Waste campaign, check their website. – Rappler.com

Rappler is building a network of climate advocates, LGUs, corporations, NGOs, youth groups, and individuals for the #ManyWaysToZeroWaste campaign, a movement pushing for responsible ways to use and reduce plastic. Go here to know how you can help.