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Coca-Cola sets up P1B recycling unit

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In a bid to curb the proliferation of plastic waste and enforce a more sustainable future, the Coca-Cola Company is investing P1 billion in a proposed food-grade recycling facility.

The new unit is an integral part of the multinational’s “World Without Waste” campaign.

With Philippines as third largest producer of plastic in the world’s ocean, Coca-Cola’s proposed recycling unit is seen to improve the country’s polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottle collection and recycling rates.

At Coca-Cola, we see our packaging as valuable resource and not waste. It is therefore unacceptable for us that our packaging ends up in places where they shouldn’t be

In an interview with the reporters, Coca-Cola Philippines president and general manager Winn Everhart said the proposed facility to be located 100 kilometers away from Metro Manila is seen to process 16,000 metric tons of plastics, covering an estimated 40 percent of the country’s entire plastic ecosystem.

Coca-cola’s first recycling venture in Southeast Asia is also seen to generate approximately 150,000 jobs for Filipinos.

“Our aspiration for this facility is to prioritize and close the loop on our packaging by turning old bottles into new ones so they don’t end up as waste. This facility is testament to our resolve to create opportunities that will help fuel a more robust approach to leaving a positive impact not just in our value chain, but also in the communities where we operate in,” Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines Inc. (CCBPI) president and CEO Gareth McGeown said.

McGeown added the facility will operate with local partners and will process recyclable products even from other companies.

The beverage firm also launched on Tuesday a comprehensive blueprint of the “World Without Waste” program where they aim to use or sell at least 50 percent recycled content of their packaging by 2030.

Under the campaign, Coca Cola’s bottling arm CCBPI will primarily focus on recycling bottles, cans, caps made from glass, PET plastics and aluminum which make up approximately 85 percent of its packaging.

With the facility set to launch in 2020, plastic bottles will be shredded to transform into other products such as shoes, bags, and wall bricks.

Currently, Coke produces Viva water bottle, their first ever product using fully-recycled resin-free materials that was Food and Drug Administration-approved.

“At Coca-Cola, we see our packaging as valuable resource and not waste. It is therefore unacceptable for us that our packaging ends up in places where they shouldn’t be. With our primary packaging in the Philippines being 100 percent recyclable, we see the potential of capturing its value by creating new and better approaches towards processing and recycling recyclable materials,” Everhart said.

To help improve recycling rates, Coke will continue to tap local communities, non-government organizations and industry partners to help educate the consuming public how and when to recycle bottles.

“As a company that has been part of the 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,” McGeown said.

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