Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, Inc. (CCBPI)—the bottling arm of Coca-Cola in the country—and the Municipality of Basco, Batanes held a fitting commemoration of Earth Day on April 22 by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the collection and recycling of PET bottles.
Batanes is considered a prime tourism destination and is part of the tentative list for inscription in the UNESCO-World Heritage List—which the Philippine government has been pursuing through the establishment of art and conservation projects within the island province.
Due to various factors, such as the need for a more robust waste management system, the Batanes capital Basco faces a critical issue over its waste disposal processes.
As part of its World Without Waste vision, Coca-Cola reached out to the Basco local government with a proposal to clear Basco’s Eco Center of about 20,000 kilograms or 20 tons of post-consumer recyclable PET bottles, which have accumulated throughout the years. Further to this, the MOU also establishes a post-consumer PET flow from Batanes to Gen. Trias, Cavite—where Coca-Cola and Indorama Venture’s bottle-to-bottle recycling facility PETValue will rise.
“This project is very important to us because for the longest time, it has been a challenge especially for our MENRO on how we can take out from Basco the piled up PET bottles [in our area]. The Municipal government’s budgetary and operational limitation hamper us from doing a big scale transport of our PET bottles, and there are only a few junkshops that operate in Basco who can help us ship out these materials.” said Mayor Demetrius C. Narag of Basco, during a virtual signing ceremony.
Mayor Narag, in his address to CCBPI representatives, said, “On behalf of the whole community of Basco, we are sending you our heartfelt thanks for initiating this project. This morning signifies our commitment to our partnership.”
PETValue and value in every PET bottle
“We are grateful to the Basco local government for welcoming us as a partner in the collective pursuit of a World Without Waste. There is inherent value in every post-consumer PET bottle as a 100% recyclable material, and these, therefore, should not be stockpiled in dumpsites,” said Atty. Juan Lorenzo Tañada, Director for Corporate & Regulatory Affairs, Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, Inc.
“What we will collect from Basco will be used as initial feedstock for PETValue’s processes,” adds Tañada, “and we will be storing them responsibly while we wait for the facility to be operational.”
In 2019, Coca-Cola embarked on building the country’s first bottle-to-bottle, food-grade recycling facility called PETValue Philippines. In partnership with Indorama Ventures, a global leader in green technologies, this PHP1B facility is set to have the capacity to process approximately 30,000 metric tons/ year or almost 3 billion pieces of plastic bottles.
In 2020, the Department of Trade and Industry’s Board of Investments (BOI) granted PETValue a pioneer technology status, which means that PETValue’s green technologies and processes are the first of their kind in the country.
Coca-Cola aims to establish a circular economy for its packaging by collecting clear bottles made from PET (polyethylene terephthalate)—even those produced by other manufacturers—and create a value chain that will make it for these recyclable materials to be collected and recycled. PETValue will also generate more jobs for Filipinos, overall contributing to economic recovery alongside ecological welfare.
The construction of the PETValue facility in General Trias, Cavite is underway and is projected to be completed by Q4 of 2021. Coca-Cola has been working with local government units and NGO partners to help build the recycling facility’s feedstock or stored post-consumer PET bottles to ensure enough input will be fed into the facility.
A commitment to packaging innovation and energy and water sustainability
In 2019, Coca-Cola changed the iconic Sprite green packaging to clear PET to increase recyclability. Clear PET plastic bottles have the highest recyclability compared to colored ones.
The Company has also been delivering solid results in its energy efficiency and water replenishment targets. Water savings initiatives in operations and community projects such as the Coca-Cola Foundation PH’s AGOS program, have enabled the Company to achieve an estimated 112% water replenishment.
In March of 2021, Coca-Cola completed the installation of 14,000 solar panels in three of its plants, in a move toward more expansive renewable energy sourcing. To date, 65% of the CCBPI’s total energy consumption across the Philippines is sourced from clean and renewable sources.
“Our partnership with Basco has effectively opened up the vast potential of PET collection for recycling here in the Philippines,” says Tañada. “This is only the beginning, and we at CCBPI will continue working with our partners for sustainability.”