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Coca-Cola Phl Expands Recycled Packaging Program, Sustainability Initiatives

Coca-Cola Phl Expands Recycled Packaging Program, Sustainability Initiatives
Handout photo shows Coca-Cola products using 100 percent recycled PET bottles.

Coca-Cola Philippines has expanded its sustainable packaging program by strengthening its campaign to educate consumers and use more recycled material in the packaging of their products.

The company on Thursday, Sept. 7, launched a consumer engagement initiative called “May Ikabobote Pa,” which aims to educate consumers about waste reduction and recycling.

“Coca-Cola recognizes that the plastic waste problem in the Philippines is both urgent and complex. Therefore, it will take a collaborative effort to solve this issue,” Coca-Cola Philippines president Tony del Rosario said.

“In line with our commitment to helping build a circular economy in the country, we are working to offer innovative packaging design, expand collection and recycling programs, and forge strategic alliances with stakeholders—including government agencies, industry partners and local organizations,” he added.

Del Rosario committed to use their “brand power” to engage consumers in collection and recycling initiatives, as well as build awareness about ways to recycle and reuse  plastic bottles.

Part of the campaign is a new webpage, which can be accessed through a QR code that will be printed in every product of Coca-Cola Philippines.

Users can view the company’s current sustainability efforts, along with an interactive graphic for their recycling process. A database of over 2,800 bottle collection sites nationwide is also available. 

“We believe it’s very important to approach this topic holistically, and sustain our actions and commitment for the long term,” del Rosario said during the launch event held at The Fifth at Rockwell in Makati. 

Aside from the webpage, del Rosario said Coca-Cola Philippines would also use social media and out-of-home advertisements to further educate consumers. 

“May Ikabobote Pa” is the latest addition to Coca-Cola’s “World Without Waste” program. Launched in 2018, it seeks to collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle or can that the  company sells by 2030.

Under the program, Coca-Cola aims to make 100 percent of its packaging recyclable by 2025 and use at least 50 percent recycled material in its packaging by 2030. 

Recycled PET bottles

During the launch, del Rosario also revealed the expansion of their use of recycled packaging. Now, Coca-Cola Original in 190ml and 390ml and Wilkins Pure in 500ml will also use recycled PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) or rPET plastic bottles, excluding caps and labels.

“We will also continue to use recycled plastic packaging for our Sprite 500 ml bottles as we’ve been doing since 2019,” Del Rosario added. 

The said products now include a “I’m a 100% recycled plastic bottle” text at the bottom of the label, as well as a call to action meesage "Recycle Me Again."

According to Coca-Cola, it has launched at least one brand in bottles made from 100 percent rPET in more than 40 countries around the world.

It said the rPET bottles maintain high-quality standards that consumers expect from the company and comply with local regulations as well as The Coca-Cola Company’s strict global standards for food-grade rPET packaging.

Big strides 

Del Rosario recalled the company’s earlier efforts to be more sustainable, citing their “Tapon to Reborn” program, where employees collect and segregate empty PET bottles, cans and cartons. These are brought into the office to be recycled, he said. 

The material gathered would then be sent to recycling facilities, including their own PETValue Philippines plant in General Trias, Cavite. 

Opened in October 2022, the facility is Philippines’ first bottle-to-bottle recycling facility, and is a joint investment between local distributor Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines (CCBPI) and IndoRama Ventures. 

Del Rosario also noted partnerships with “like-minded” organizations, such as their “Tindahan Extra Mile balik PET bottle” program, which is implementer with the Basic Environmental Systems and Technologies Inc. and the Philippine Association of Sari-Sari Store and Carinderia Owners.

Through the partnership, 2,000 sari-sari stores have become bottle collection sites, he said. 

A separate partnership with social enterprise Plastic Bank also benefited over 600 informal waste collectors, Del Rosario added. 

CCBPI president Gareth McGeown also recognized their progress, recalling the firm’s phaseout of unrecyclable sachets in 2021 and the switch to a clear Sprite bottle in 2019. 

Included, too, was the transition to paper straws for Minute Maid and NutriBoost. 

But the sweetest, for him, is PETValue Philippines.

“It’s a state of the art recycling facility and it can process around two billion pieces of plastic bottles per year. Truly making a circular economy for our packaging,” he said. 

In line with the Extended Producer Responsibility Act of 2022, McGeown said they have already developed their extended producer responsibility program.

He bared plans to partner with more companies, social enterprises and local government units to turn more community-level establishments into bottle collection hubs.

“So just imagine this, tons and tons of recyclable bottles piling up, sitting in a location, waiting for someone like us to come and collect them, and recycle them, and reuse them,” McGeown said, stressing the importance of partnerships with local government.

“This is the story of what we want to keep on telling here in the Philippines. So all our collection efforts, we’re certain that there are many, many, many stories that will come in the coming weeks and months and years ahead and we will rely on you to help us on that journey,” he added.