CCBSA continues to contribute to circular economy through plastic waste collection drives

SOUTH AFRICA – In line with its World Without Waste Vision 2030 agenda, the Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) has partnered with Matongoni Recycling Group to undertake a plastic waste collection and recycling initiative in rural communities of Limpopo Province.

The beverage giant targets to collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle it sells, and reach 50% recycled content of all its packaging by 2030 globally.

Under the recently launched project, Coca-Cola will provide the much-needed boost to the collection of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles by availing a transport subsidy to Matongoni.

Collection trucks will be able to cover a wider area, and a subsidy on collected materials will provide locals a higher incentive to go into the environment and collect as much waste as they can find.

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CCBSA, working through Matongoni Recycling Group, will also engage with community groups, and households to buy collected and sorted waste material and transport it to its two recycling depots in Polokwane and Johannesburg.

“The transport subsidy will allow us to reach more people, even in the most remote areas, and the premium rate on materials paid to community members will offer a very good incentive for everyone, from youngest to oldest, to collect and earn a bit of income,” says Matongoni founder and director, Tshifhiwa Aubrey Magodi.

This collection, which began in September, will run until the end of 2021, and will cover the communities of Polokwane, Makhado, Messina, Venda, Tzaneen, Lebowakgomo, Thabazimbi and Lephalale.

“We established this project when we realised the difficulty with which the PET waste is managed in rural communities. The lack of collection centres, as well as the absence of transportation resources in these areas to help eliminate waste, has seen communities opting to dispose of waste directly into the environment.

“This has placed a massive burden on landfills, leaving municipalities unable to cope with excess waste and leading to widespread contamination of the surrounding ecosystem,” says Nozicelo Ngcobo – Public Affairs, Communication & Sustainability Director, CCBSA.

Another mounting problem is the burning of unwanted materials, which produces toxic fumes affecting both humans and wildlife in the area.

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“As these are key markets for CCBSA, it is our responsibility to support the effective removal of waste packaging to help restore and safeguard our environment,” added Ngcobo.

While PET bottles will be the primary materials targeted, Matongoni will also be collecting and buying cardboard and glass.

In total, the company expects to work with around 2000 families across Limpopo Province, with a target to retrieve 7000 tonnes of PET waste by the end of the year.

SAB formulates innovate bottle collecting solutions

Meanwhile, the South African Breweries has formulated an innovative solution to collect returnable bottles from the informal recycling industry.

The solution follows a problem that was identified by the brewer where they had seen a decline in its Return to Issue bottles for the past five years. 

To this end, SAB has partnered with a Buy Back Centre in Soweto to begin the trials of bottle collection.

The initiative forms part of the brewer’s ambition of ensuring that 100% of the material used in their packaging is made from 100% recyclable material by 2025.

Central to reaching the 2025 target has been ensuring that there is an efficient Return To Issue system, which is implemented through the brewer giving customers full beer when they return the bottles which then get recycled.

This forms part of the Extended Producer Responsibility Law which has been recently introduced in South Africa and will be effective from November 2021. 

The Extended Producer Responsibility Law ensures that these products are either recycled or upcycled, and that waste products that are diverted to landfills are kept at a minimum.

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