Ugandan soft drinks giant, Coca-Cola Beverages Uganda (CCBU) has stepped up its environmental protection efforts by teaming up with recycling firm, Acacia foundation to totally fight plastic pollution.
The new initiative was announced by Kirunda Magoola, the CCBU Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability Director.
According to Magunda, Coca Cola Uganda and Acacia Foundation inked an MoU which will enforce collaboration of the two entities on plastic waste management as a way to eradicate plastic pollution and save the environment.
As per this agreement, CCBU will give Acacia Foundation access to its bottle collection and sorting centres across the country as well as logistical support for transporting plastic waste collected for recycling,. This will be on top of helping Acacia Foundation to access financing at favourable terms.
“This a three-year agreement which is renewable subject to meeting targeted output. CCBU enters it as part of our larger plan to mitigate plastic waste under the Plastic Recycling Industries (PRI) initiative through which we (CCBU) promote environmental conservation and protection by supporting collection and recycling of plastics in Uganda,” Kirunda said.
He added that the company is fully committed to supporting initiatives that seek to reduce plastic waste.
“We are working in our communities to educate people on why and how to recycle through consumer campaigns, on-package messaging and more to create a healthier environment for all.
“At CCBU, we are leading the industry in making our value chain increasingly sustainable in the way that we manufacture our products, how we distribute them and how we sell them. We have the scale and reach to make a real difference, and we’re using our leadership position to drive change and help put our planet on a more sustainable path,” he says.
Also under the arrangement, CCBU will also provide marketing and communication support to Acacia Foundation and introduce it to PET lobby groups that will support it to achieve targets under the agreement.
For its part, the Acacia Foundation will, among others, supply PET flakes of agreed specification to CCBU or its partners, and co-operate with companies and organisations in the plastic recycling sector to support CCBU’s initiatives related to waste management and environmental restoration.
Why the partnership?
Coca cola’s move follows a report in which the National Research Repository of Uganda (NRU) indicated last year that imports and use of packaging and plastics in Uganda have increased by six-fold within the last three years. Unfortunately, this increase has come along with a mutual increase in plastic pollution, with just less than 5% of these plastics recycled. Subsequently, this has escalated the growing need for sustainable plastic imports, product packaging, and waste management since most of this plastic ends up in landfills, lakes, and rivers thus causing severe environment damage.
This explains why in the last five years, CCBU has been a leader in the drive to manage plastic waste, with a target of making 25% of the company’s packaging reusable by 2030, while at the same time achieving a 100% collection rate for recycling, and creating a packaging system that uses at least 50% recycled material by 2030.
Tony Nie, the Chairman of the Acacia Foundation, applauded CCBU for its dedication to managing plastic waste, noting that it was time for all Ugandans, especially corporate organisations, to get involved in creating a Uganda that is safe for the current and future generations.
“Everybody must do their part. This is why we believe that our partnership with CCBU is an important one since it will enable us to create plastic recycling awareness programmes such as clean-ups that will benefit society as well as improve the collection of plastic waste,” Nie said.