To mark World Environment Day today, The Coca-Cola Company and its bottling partners across Africa, reaffirm their commitment to help create a world without waste.

World Environment Day was founded by the United Nations Environment to promote worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. This year, the UN is calling on people across the globe to help “Beat Plastic Pollution.”

In January 2018, the Company launched a global goal to fundamentally reshape its approach to packaging through its World Without Waste initiative. This initiative aims to collect and recycle the equivalent of 100% of its packaging by 2030.

Across the continent the Company’s packaging focus on design, collect and partner is making strides. In South Africa for example, the bottle water brand Bonaqua is packaged in an eco-twist bottle, which uses intelligent design to enable the bottle to be easily compressed and take up less space in the recycling bin.

Additionally, through the efforts of PET Recycling Company (PETCO), which Coca-Cola helped to set up, more than two billion PET bottles were collected and recycled in South Africa in 2017. This equates to a 65 % percent – rates close to European rates and that exceed United States recycling rates by more than 20%.  PETCO also helped to secure investment for two world class recycling facilities that create bottles out of recycled PET for use in the beverage industry. These facilities create recycled PET for the beverage industry to use in the manufacturing of their bottles. This has resulted in an estimated 288,000m3 of landfill space saved and more than 1,500 new income opportunities have been created through these two investments.

In Uganda, the Company’s bottling partner has invested US$1.4 million in a subsidiary called Plastics Recycling Initiative (PRI), which is now the largest plastic recycling business in Uganda, collecting about 14 tons of plastic daily, empowering plastic collectors to earn a living, 80% of whom were previously unemployed women.

In Zimbabwe, the beverage industry with the blessings of the Environmental Agency Association (EMA), has developed a multi-award winning company, PetrecoZim, which was formed in 2011, but became fully operational in 2014. PET collection has steadily gone up and is now at 15.38%, up from 7.69% last year. Since January, the company has collected 160 000 tonnes a month, no mean achievement. The operation has now decentralised, moving from Harare to other centres like Bulawayo, Mutare, Gweru, Masvingo and Mutare.

And in Kenya, the Company has partnered with like-minded industries to launch the PET Recycling Company (PETCO) today, to promote and regulate the recycling of PET material after their initial use.

“We will be taking these examples from across the continent and learning from them to innovate and invest in a waste-free Africa, said Maserame Mouyeme, Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability Director for Coca-Cola Southern & East Africa. “Bottles and cans shouldn’t harm our planet, and companies like ours must be leaders. Consumers across the continent care about our planet, and they want and expect companies to take action. That’s exactly what we’re going to do, and we invite others to join us on this critical journey.”

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