Coca-Cola Philippines lays out sustainability map

Anna Mogato
Coca-Cola Philippines lays out sustainability map
Coca-Cola Philippines responds to the country's plastic waste crisis with a roadmap that ultimately leads to 'closing the loop' or preventing the generation of waste through recycling

MANILA, Philippines – Beverage maker Coca-Cola Philippines has laid out a plan to address plastic waste pollution in the country through a roadmap that seeks to reduce the company’s waste generation while aiding communities. 

Unveiled on Tuesday, June 11, Coca-Cola’s roadmap showed that the company is eyeing to have all of its packaging 100% recyclable by 2025. By 2030, recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic will make up 50% of the company’s plastic bottles. 

This is supported by the company’s goal to collect and recycle a bottle or can for every product it sells. The company will also take in bottles and cans from its competitors as well. (READ: Single-use plastics, still the environment’s number 1 enemy)

To accomplish this, Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, Incorporated (CCBPI), the local bottling arm, recently announced that it will invest P1 billion to set up a food-grade recycling facility in the country – it’s first in Southeast Asia.

The facility will be done in partnership with a local partner and an international green technology partner, but details of the deal have yet to be finalized.

CCBPI president and CEO Gareth McGeown on Tuesday told reporters that while there was location yet for the proposed plant, it will be located some 100 kilometers from the Greater Manila area.

The groundbreaking for the facility is eyed by the second half of 2019, and full operations  by 2020.

The facility is also expected to take in some 16,000 metric tons (MT) of plastic from the 130,000 MT of plastic waste generated here in the country. 

The plant will be churning out plastic flakes which can be used to manufacture a number of materials aside from PET bottles such as fabric, chairs, and tables. The flakes can also be sold to other manufacturing companies.

“In the long run, it has to be self-funding. So the intent is that over time, it will be a sustainable and profitable business that will allow us to continue and invest and expand our fooprint,” McGeown said. 

Helping communities

To make sure that the facility will have enough material to process, Coca-Cola Philippines president and general manager Winn Everhart said they will collect the plastic waste from informal pickers and collectors.

“When we invest in this facility, we have the ability to add somewhat like Lego blocks – additional equipment, and machinery along the way. Our biggest concern is making sure we have the local partners in the recycling process,” he said.

Coca-Cola Philippines director for public affairs, communications, and sustainability Jonah de Lumen-Pernia said that they are conducting pilot tests in different municipalities to work out a process on how these collectors can help fuel the plant.

“Our intention for the facility is we work within the radius of the municipalities; provide better incomes. Most of the bottles are exported to China. So I believe there’s a role to servicing the local recycling industry and fueling that to this facility,” she added. 

Coca-cola has similar sustainability projects in different parts of the world. – Rappler.com

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