Coca-Cola celebrates milestone in plastic recycling

Coca-Cola collected the equivalent of 113% of the PET plastic bottles they put into the South African market last year. Image: iStock

Coca-Cola collected the equivalent of 113% of the PET plastic bottles they put into the South African market last year. Image: iStock

The beverage giant confirms it has collected and recycled more PET plastic than what was produced in the South African market.

In recognition of World Environment Day on Wednesday, The Coca-Cola Company in South Africa shared an update against its global World Without Waste commitments that was shared on January 19 2018.

It proudly announced that it has achieved a significant milestone in South Africa by collecting and recycling more polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic than what was produced in the South African market.

Luis Avellar, general manager for the South African Franchise of Coca-Cola Southern & East Africa, said: “We collected the equivalent of 113% of the PET plastic bottles we put into the South African market last year. This is ahead of the global commitment to collect a bottle or can for every one we sell by 2030.”

This was achieved thanks to the country’s voluntary collection and recycling model, called the PET Recycling Company (Petco). This voluntary model, set up by Coca-Cola and other like-minded industries to promote and regulate the recycling of PET plastic, takes responsibility for recovering and recycling beverage PET plastic bottles. Petco drove the collection of PET plastic bottles from single digits in the early 2000s to 63% in 2017-2018.

With the announcement of its World Without Waste commitments, Coca-Cola reinforced its commitment to reshaping its approach to packaging, with a global goal of helping to collect and recycle the equivalent of 100% of its packaging by 2030. It is backing this vision with multi-year investments across Africa.

Other commitments for a World Without Waste is to ensure that packaging is 100% recyclable. “We also aim to make bottles with an average of 50% recycled content,” they explained.

“Key to achieving the high collection rates is partnering with local communities, NGOs, industry and consumers to collect packaging and help ensure it doesn’t end up where it doesn’t belong,” Avellar added.

The 100 000 tons of the PET waste collected through Petco is recycled in South Africa is driving a successful circular economy that provides employment opportunities for 64,000 people.

Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa, the local bottling partner to Coca-Cola, also invests in educating communities to encourage a recycling culture. In 2018, through this program, 866 schools participated in their Schools’ Recycling Programme, which has educated more than 700,000 learners on recycling.

“Like many companies that make products we all love, our packaging has contributed to the global packaging problem and we are taking action to help solve this challenge. Coca-Cola in South Africa is leading the way for a World Without Waste,” said Avellar.

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