By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Coca-Cola Philippines’ P1-billion recycling plant is expected to start full commercial operation in the second semester next year to achieve its goal to collect and recycle all its bottles and cans by 2030.
Gareth McGeown, president and CEO of Coca Cola Bottling Philippines, Inc., said they are looking to break ground this year and full commercial operation in the third or fourth quarter of 2020.
McGeown said the plant has a targeted capacity of 16,000 metric tons of plastic. But the company will take in other pet bottles from other multinational corporations and other companies that use plastic bottles to achieve economies of scale. The entire waste plastic ecosystem is estimated at 130,000 MT of which Coca-Cola contributes 40 percent.
In terms of location, the country’s largest cola manufacturing firm, is looking at a facility within 100-kilometer radius of Metro Manila. They are still in talks with partners for the location and the technology supplier.
While the initiative is to help the environment, McGeown said they would like to make the facility sustainable in the long run. The company has other recycling facilities in Mexico, but since the Philippine facility is the latest then it will be the most advance in terms of technology.
Having some knowledge from their operations in Mexico they may attain attain sustainability of the facility in 5-10 years or even earlier.
Winn Everheart, president and general manager of Coca-Cola Philippines, said at the launch of the company’s “World Without Waste” initiative that the plant will be the first Coca-Cola recycling plant in southeast Asia being its first market in the region and doing business here for the past 107 years.
Everheart further said the flakes produced from the recycling plant may go to other manufacturers for further processing into chairs, textiles, among others.
But most of it will go for the processing of pet bottles for use by Coke’s plastic packaging.
Already, the company has established some recycling partners in 12 provinces in the country.
The establishment of the recycling plant is in line with the beverage company’s target to have 100 percent collection and recycling of packaging by 2030.
The comprehensive blueprint towards packaging sustainability also aims to use at least 50 percent recycled content in their packaging by 2030.
These goals are the cornerstones of the company’s global vision of a “World Without Waste”, an ambitious action plan that seeks to transform the way they see recyclable packaging – from a “use once and dispose after” item to a valuable resource that has limitless use and possibilities.
“At Coca-Cola, we see our packaging as a valuable resource and not waste. It is therefore unacceptable to us that our packaging ends up in places where they shouldn’t be. With our primary packaging in the Philippines being 100% recyclable, we see the potential of capturing its value by creating new and better approaches toward reprocessing and recycling recyclable plastic,” said Everheart at the launch of the company’s “World Without Waste” initiative.
“As a company that has been part of Filipino communities for over 100 years, our goal in everything we do is to continue strengthening the foundations of our business and the communities we serve so that we can all grow and thrive long into the future of a litter-free Philippines,” shared McGeown.
“Our aspiration for this facility is to prioritize and close the loop on our packaging specifically here in the country by turning old bottles into new ones, so they do not end up as waste. This facility is testament to our resolve in making our World Without Waste vision a reality across the country. With this, we aim to create opportunities that will help fuel a more robust approach to leaving a positive impact not just on our value chain, but also on the communities where we operate in.”