A PUBLIC-PRIVATE coalition made Ugandan history on Earth Day 2022 by collecting over 16.26 tonnes of plastic waste in one day, in an environmental cleanup that covered five districts countrywide.
The partnership consisted of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Coca-Cola Beverages Africa in Uganda through Plastic Recycling Industries, and Global Living Institute through its Kabale Recycling Centre.
Together, the coalition organized a series of cleanup activities to celebrate Earth Day by practically cleaning up the earth under the theme ‘Invest in our Planet’.
The coalition focused on PET waste collection in Kampala, Kabale, Mbarara, Masaka and Gulu districts.
“Our ethos as a company is to do the right things as we refresh our consumers and make the community a better place for all. Our communities will unquestionably be better if we embed a culture of proper disposal of waste such as PET. At Coca-Cola Beverages Africa we are committed to encouraging this proper disposal by supporting collection through recycling,” said General Manager Melkamu Abebe.
Moses Twahirwa, Director of Community Action at Global Living Institute, said that for the last four years, the Institute has worked with Entusi Resort & Center, the Kabale Municipal Council and partners like Plastic Recycling Industries to set up plastic waste and recycling centres in the heart of Kabale town.
“As a result, close to 10 tons of plastic waste are collected in the town by unemployed youth and poor women – mainly those who have been able to earn a living and support their families because of selling the waste plastic. The town has been rid of unnecessary plastic waste, as the locals earned cash in turn, coupled with the collection centre providing employment for the youth and women,” Twahirwa said.
“According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics report, youth unemployment in Uganda, stands at 64% and 70%, a thing that presents a big challenge to the government. This recycling venture therefore is a solution for youth especially in urban areas since many of the plastics are in town areas,” he added.
Commenting on the exercise, Samuel Kangave, Manager of Plastic Recycling Industries reiterated the Coca-Cola Beverage group’s commitment to its global World Without Waste initiative, which aims to recover the equivalent of every can and every bottle that is sold to be recycled and reused by 2030.
“We have already made significant progress towards our collection and recycling rate of polyethene terephthalate (PET) bottles. Our biggest challenge on recycling is accelerating the collection of plastic to increase PET bottles feedstock for recycled PET supply to enable higher recycled content in our bottles,” he said.
Coca-Cola Beverages in Africa (CCBA) has made sustainability integral to its business strategy, therefore, investing in long long-term and short-term incentives to achieve it throughout the system.