As part of its commitment to driving its global World Without Waste agenda, the Nigerian Bottling Company Ltd (NBC) on Thursday June 17, in partnership with Recycle Points, a waste recycling and social benefit organization, commissioned a Plastic Recycling Bank. The recycling bank, which is located at its Ikeja manufacturing plant in Lagos, will help ensure that post-consumer PET plastics are collected and recycled.
The company, along with its partner, Coca-Cola Nigeria Ltd, has been at the forefront of efforts to tackle the challenge of improperly disposed plastic waste in the country; forging partnerships and alliances with waste collectors, industry leaders, governments, NGOs, waste aggregators, development agencies, and consumers to address the issue.
Speaking at the Recycling Bank launch event, Managing Director of NBC, Matthieu Seguin, said “The world has a packaging waste problem, and our ‘World Without Waste’ vision aims to help address it, and we want to help lead the way. Our position is, we want our bottles back. For every bottle we produce, we want it back. It has many advantages for the environment. We believe every package has value and life beyond its initial use and should be collected and recycled into either a new package or another beneficial use.”
He further highlighted some measures that the company has taken to support its World Without Waste agenda saying, “we have taken steps such as light weighting our beverage packaging to conserve materials and reduce our packaging footprint, we have invested in redesigning all our primary and secondary packaging materials to be 100% recyclable. Recently we changed our Sprite Bottle from Green to clear bottle to make it 100% recyclable and easier to recycle. Thirdly, we are driving the Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) initiative, in collaboration with other industry stakeholders under Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA). We will be scaling up this intervention, with the establishment of more recycling banks in other parts of the country. This is the first of seven recycling banks which NBC will be commissioning this year alone”.
Seguin, who is the current chairman of the Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA), an industry coalition dedicated to building a sustainable recycling economy for food and beverage packaging waste, also made a case for sustainable partnerships, noting that the collaboration with Recycle Points is also helping to bridge the unemployment and gender inclusion gap in Nigeria. Seguin explained that, “our partnership with Recycle Points, will create about 2,000 new jobs, the majority of which would mostly be taken up by women and youth in the society”.
Also speaking at the event, Managing Director, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Alfred Olajide, remarked on Coca-Cola’s plan to address the improper plastic disposal challenge. “Working in partnership with NBC, our bottling partners and the Coca-Cola Foundation we have made giant strides towards making sure that we help rid the world of the menace of plastic packaging problems”.
“We have invested directly and indirectly in initiatives that help drive a circular economy for plastics through investments in recycling banks, by enabling recyclers to expand their activities and so on. This all stems from our commitment that by 2030, we want to collect back an empty bottle or can for each one that we put in the market. What we are doing here today is a demonstration that this goal is possible,” Olajide said.
He commended NBC and Recycle Points for the partnership which he noted will lead to a cleaner Nigeria. “What is delightful for me is that we are walking the talk with this initiative.
The Assistant General Manager, Special Duties, who represented the Managing Director, Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Kemi Sulaiman, echoed similar sentiments, saying that NBC’s efforts to rid the environment of plastic waste support the objectives of LAWMA.
“You are actually helping us to do our work. If we all separate and recycle PET plastics like this across our homes, the lifespan of our landfills will be increased and what will end up going into the landfills will be 50% less”.
In his presentation at the event, the Director, Sanitization Services Department, who represented the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Environment, Dr. Hassan Sanuth, highlighted the regulatory framework of the ministry and how it aligns with NBC initiative. “I have to commend the effort of NBC and Coca-Cola Nigeria for keying into the global sustainable strategy of Coca-Cola, promising to recycle 100% of their products packaging materials by 2030.”
He urged other players in the industry to replicate the initiative across the country, to create commercial value for plastic wastes aggregators who will be tapping into the opportunities therein.
The launch of the Recycling Bank is one of the ways NBC is deepening its World Without Waste agenda in the country, leveraging valuable partnerships while promoting a more sustainable approach to handling wastes.