This year, on World Environment Day, UN Environment is calling on people across the world to help to #BeatPlasticPollution. Every year, 8 million tons of plastic enter our oceans, threatening marine and human life and destroying our natural ecosystems.
And The Coca-Cola Company is committed to doing its part.
In January 2018, The Coca-Cola Company announced a bold, ambitious goal to help collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle or can it sells globally by 2030. This goal is the centerpiece of a new packaging vision, World Without Waste, which the Coca-Cola system intends to back with a multi-year investment that includes ongoing work to make its packaging 100 percent recyclable by 2025.
Around the world, the Coca-Cola system is embracing a World Without Waste, rethinking how bottles and cans are designed and made, and how they’re recycled and repurposed. In Spain, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment (MAPAMA), Ecomar Foundation, Chelonia, Zero Discharges and others, Coca-Cola launched Mares Circulares, a new initiative focused on collecting waste on Spain’s coasts, beaches, reserves and sea beds.
By end of year, the campaign estimates 250 tons of waste will have been collected, 25 tons of which will be PET. Coordinated cleanups are targeted for 80 beaches and across all marine reserves. Recognizing that reducing marine debris will require much more than collection, Mares Circulares is also focused on training and awareness for recycling, and promotion of the circular economy.
“The Coca-Cola system across the globe is demonstrating true passion for contributing toward a World Without Waste. It’s inspiring to see so many of our markets accelerating actions, setting goals and developing new programs to address waste challenges. These are examples of many promising stories across the over 200 markets where we do business,” said Ben Jordan, Senior Director of Environmental Policy, The Coca-Cola Company. “Waste is a huge and growing issue for our world and making headway will require all of us to play a part. Through partnership and participation, together we can make a positive difference.”
One region making significant progress is sub-Saharan Africa. Over ten years ago, Coca-Cola South Africa, funded and co-created the PET Recycling Company (PETCO). PETCO is an industry body that promotes and regulates the recycling of PET material after initial use, and has partnered with recyclers to create new products made from disposed PET material. As a result of PETCO’s efforts, the country has seen an increase in recycling from single digits in 2000 to 65% in 2017 – close to European rates and rates that exceed United States recycling by more than 20%.
Following PETCO’s success in South Africa, Coca-Cola is helping to launch the model in Kenya through the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM). While industry recycling has occurred in Kenya for years, PETCO Kenya is the plastic industry’s first joint endeavor to self-regulate and create a sustainable approach to PET management.
In the United States, The Coca-Cola Company and The Coca-Cola Foundation, with help from Keep America Beautiful, The Recycling Partnership and The Closed Loop Fund, donated its 1 millionth recycling bin in May 2018. Since 2007, The Coca-Cola Foundation has supported an annual Keep America Beautiful grant program, which has donated public space recycling bins to more than 1,000 communities across the United States. The company and The Coca-Cola Foundation have also awarded grants to The Closed Loop Fund and The Recycling Partnership to help expand curbside recycling and provide recycling education to residents in more than 500 communities. These combined efforts have resulted in more than 730 million pounds of recyclables diverted from landfills.
At Coca-Cola, we believe World Environment Day is about the power of individuals to be a part of global conversations and solutions for our planet. We believe actions should inspire others to generate solutions that leave the world better for generations to come – and only through collective actions—big and small—will we truly create a World Without Waste.
Learn more about World Without Waste.