In commemoration of World Earth Day, Coca-Cola Nigeria through its recycling initiatives reaffirmed its commitment to the support of environmental protection and sustainability in Nigeria.
Amaka Onyemelukwe, Director, Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability, Coca-Cola Nigeria stated this while speaking during the maiden edition of the Business Day Diswaste conference themed ‘Corporate Citizens for Clean Cities’ which held on Thursday, April 22nd.
Onyemelukwe explained that the eradication of waste in the country and the world at large through Coca-Cola’s World Without Waste initiative remains an integral commitment for Coca-Cola Nigeria.
“At Coca-Cola we recognise there is a global packaging waste problem. There is an onus on us as a business to find innovative solutions to tackle this challenge. Through our World Without Waste initiative, we are working hard to ensure the world’s waste crisis is a thing of the past. We are working with multi-stakeholder collaborations and seeking to drive, create and accelerate the collection and recycling of our packaging” she said.
Onyemelukwe went on to note that Coca-Cola’s World Without Waste initiative has made remarkable strides in its efforts to curb the waste crisis in the country. She stated that this has been achieved through the creation of a sustainable recycling model and a circular economy.
“In Nigeria so far, through our World Without Waste initiative, we have recycled over 1.5 billion bottles, and invested over 2 million dollars in plastic recovery and recycling efforts. At Coca-Cola our goal is to build better bottles for today and tomorrow by changing how we make them. As part of our focus on design, Coca-Cola recently changed its Sprite bottle packaging in Nigeria from the iconic green plastic packaging to clear plastic to increase its recyclability. The Sprite brand, known for its distinct green bottle for decades, was transformed into a clear bottle, signalling the company’s unequivocal commitment to ensuring a greener environment. According to industry experts, this change also offers material benefits for informal waste reclaimers due to the higher valuation placed on clear plastic bottles.
Along with key industry partners under the Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance, we are creating a more sustainable collection and recycling model to enable circular economy. This is evident in the various recycling programs going on with multiple NGOs and social ventures. We believe every package we create should have more than one life. The materials, once recycled, might be used to make another bottle or a t-shirt, carpets, or furniture. No matter what they become, we want to maximize their use and minimize their impact on the environment.”, she added.
Speaking on Coca-Cola’s commitment to the reduction of waste in Lagos State, Onyemelukwe noted that this can only be achieved by getting consumers on board and educating them on the importance of recycling in the environment.
“We recognise that an essential part of improving recycling is carrying the consumer along. This means educating people about the best ways to collect their packaging. We have started the process of applying our expertise, assets, and media relationships to drive behavioural change in people’s waste habits”, she added.
In furtherance of its commitment to a world without waste, Coca-Cola Nigeria was a key sponsor at the Business Day Diswaste conference. The conference was held to provide an avenue for professionals and key stakeholders to discuss recycling technologies, materials recovery solutions, green electronics, sustainable materials and non-toxic substitutes that facilitate the reduction of the environmental impact of waste. Notable speakers present at the event include, Muhammed Mahmood, Honourable Minister of Environment; Mr Abubakar Suleiman, CEO, Sterling Bank Nigeria Plc, Mrs Belinda Odeneye, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, Dr Ibrahim Odumboni, GM, Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and Henry Bassey, CEO, Green Africa.