Food giants PepsiCo, Nestle introduce tangible solution to managing, tackling waste problem in South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA – Ceres Fruit Juices, the largest fruit juice packaging operation in Africa, has migrated from the use of plastic straws to paper straws on all its 200ml juice boxes, in a bid to tackle plastic waste pollution.

Plastic waste management is a growing concern across the globe, with plastic drinking straws identified as a major contributor to this problem.

The South African brand owned by PepsiCo believes that there is an opportunity to change how the world produces, distributes, consumes, and disposes of packaging in order to tackle the shared environmental challenges.

Martin Neethling, PepsiCo sub-Saharan Africa chief marketing officer explains, “A major challenge with plastic straws is that they are too lightweight to make it through the mechanical recycling sorter and therefore difficult to recycle.

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“The only way to tackle this problem is to move away from plastic straws altogether. Hence Ceres’ introduction of eco-friendly straws for some of our juice packs.”

This perspective speaks to PepsiCo’s dedication to constantly evolve its product portfolio in order to contribute to a more sustainable global food system and inspire people to make choices that are better for them and the planet.

Neethling adds that the pollution of oceans is a contributor to climate change, a challenge which has been described as the greatest of our generation. “Corporates need to stand up and make a change. We cannot wait for tomorrow,” he concludes.

It is against this backdrop that Ceres will be hosting a round table discussion end September 2021 to mark International Coastal Clean-Up Day.

The session – which will be chaired and facilitated by Craig Foster who produced and starred in the Oscar Award Winning documentary: My Octopus Teacher – will focus on the protection of the marine environment and encourage communities to get involved in clean-up efforts in their areas.

Nestlé partners with local tech startup to empower informal waste reclaimers

Meanwhile, Nestlé East and Southern Africa region (ESAR), a giant food manufacturing company has partnered with South African local waste tech startup Kudoti to launch the ‘RE: Imagine Tomorrow” pilot project in Tembisa, Gauteng.

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The initiative aims to support and empower informal waste reclaimers while supporting National Recycling Week and Let’s Do It World Clean-up Day in 2021.

The project officially launched on 18 September 2021 aims to drive and demonstrate how the circular economy is a tangible solution to managing and tackling the existing waste problem.

Nestlé has partnered with both Kudoti and Destination Green, a buy-back centre. Kudoti was one of the five winners of its global 2021 Creating Shared Value (CSV) Prize.

Under the new project, a hundred waste reclaimers will be selected to use the technology provided to tack the amount of waste collected and allocate buyers through Kudoti’s innovative technology platform and network.

Saint-Francis Tohlang, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Director at Nestlé ESAR said, “This pilot project is part of our broader RE sustainability initiative which focuses on the pillars of rethink reduce and repurpose.

“Through working with a tech start-up, waste collectors, recyclers and the community, we believe we are engaging key stakeholders in the waste management cycle to be able to RE-imagine tomorrow.”

According to reports, the waste collectors will be provided training on how to secure an income and receive a monthly stipend through a subsidy provided by Nestlé.

The training will include business and finance education to further upskill the waste reclaimers in boosting their forms of income and the programme will provide them with a range of physical resources including protective gear.

The initiative aims to also educate residents on their relationship with waste and how to reduce their own waste footprint.

In a full 360 approach, the project will further provide innovative solutions to a mass of waste as it provides tangible solutions to re-using waste to create usable products such as furniture items.

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