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Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) has partnered with Matongoni Recycling Group to provide a much-needed boost to the collection of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles in rural communities in Limpopo Province.
This collection, which began in September, will run until the end of 2021, and will cover the communities of Polokwane, Makhado, Messina, Venda, Tzaneen, Lebowakgomo, Thabazimbi and Lephalale.
This initiative forms part of CCBSA’s ongoing World Without Waste Vision 2030, to collect a bottle for each one that it sells by 2030. It also aims to make all packaging recyclable by 2025 and use more recyclable material in its packaging.
“We established this project when we realised the difficulty with which the PET waste is managed in rural communities,” says Nozicelo Ngcobo – Public Affairs, Communication & Sustainability Director, CCBSA. “The lack of collection centres, as well as the absence of transportation resources in these areas to help eliminate waste, has seen communities opting to dispose of waste directly into the environment.
“This has placed a massive burden on landfills, leaving municipalities unable to cope with excess waste and leading to widespread contamination of the surrounding ecosystem. Another mounting problem is the burning of unwanted materials, which produces toxic fumes affecting both humans and wildlife in the area. As these are key markets for CCBSA, it is our responsibility to support the effective removal of waste packaging to help restore and safeguard our environment,” says Ngcobo.
CCBSA, working through Matongoni Recycling Group, will engage with community groups, and households to buy collected and sorted waste material and transport it to its two recycling depots in Polokwane and Johannesburg.
With the bottler providing a transport subsidy to Matongoni, collection trucks will be able to cover a wider area, and a subsidy on collected materials will provide locals a higher incentive to go into the environment and collect as much waste as they can find.
While PET bottles will be the primary materials targeted, Matongoni will also be collecting and buying cardboard and glass. In total, the company expects to work with around 2000 families across Limpopo Province, with a target to retrieve 7000 tonnes of PET waste by the end of the year.
“The transport subsidy will allow us to reach more people, even in the most remote areas, and the premium rate on materials paid to community members will offer a very good incentive for everyone, from youngest to oldest, to collect and earn a bit of income,” says Matongoni founder and director, Tshifhiwa Aubrey Magodi. “We recently had a family earning just over R1000, having collected around 500kg of PET bottles and 266kg of cardboard. As there is no municipal collection in rural areas, this material could all have ended up in landfills or being burnt, creating a serious land and air pollution problem. We are grateful for the support provided by CCBSA and we wll play our part to ensure a waste free environment, while helping create livelihoods for communities,”
Issued by Riverbed Agency on behalf of Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa