AMBIENTALISTS will be keeping an eye on Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) plastic waste initiatives, which it plans to list soon on JSE and Amsterdam.
An initial public offering will pave the way for CCBA to operate as an independent company based in Africa, headquartered in South Africa, managed and domiciled.
Global bottling giant Coca-Cola Company, which in April announced plans to list its CCBA unit, said shutting down the plastic pollution tap was a priority, as it plans to make all packaging 100% globally recyclable by 2025 and reduce the carbon footprint.
Coca-Cola, which has emerged as the number one global polluter, according to the 2020 Break Free From Plastic poll, said it also intended to use at least 50% recycled material in its packaging by 2030.
Through its World Without Waste initiative, the Coca Cola Company has stated that it is committed to investing in the planet and packaging and helping to make the global packaging problem a thing of the past.
“The Coca-Cola Company and its bottlers are leading the industry with a bold and ambitious goal: to help collect and recycle a bottle or can for each one we sell by 2030.
“We are supporting the waste management goals of local governments, making recycling more accessible and to achieve 100 percent collection and recycling by 2030. Coca-Cola Beverages Africa is confident that we will achieve this goal before the 2030 target” , said Coca-Cola The company spokesman said.
“This is part of our broader strategy to grow consciously as we become a total beverage company,” said the company.
Plastics have become a major scourge for the environment, with many of them throwing garbage into the oceans and blocking drainage.
In South Africa, more than 2 billion disposable plastic bags are used every year, with half of all plastics produced to be used only once and then thrown away, and usually ending up in landfills or being consumed by marine species, according to Greenpeace.
Africa Regional Coordinator of the Global Alliance for Alternative Incinerators, Niven Reddy, said it was essential that the CCBA, along with other plastic producers, start to rethink their
packaging template. Reddy said it was not good to just emphasize recycling, because that alone was not enough.
“They should be finding systems that try to completely replace the packaging, so the best thing for CCBA to start doing is to implement refillable and deposit systems that encourage people to bring their own containers, or return them after they have consumed the liquid contained in the bottles, because, ultimately, this is what the consumer is buying: the product and not the packaging ”, said Reddy.
Climate change activists have been lobbying the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries to take action against the plastic pollution crisis in South Africa, adopting stricter measures to reduce the production of non-essential disposable plastic.
“We support the Department’s efforts to limit the filling of landfills, but they need to take more drastic measures and ban problematic and non-essential single-use plastics if we are to defeat the growing plastic pollution crisis,” said Angelo Louw of Greenpeace Africa Leader of the Pan-African plastic project.
“It is time to hold companies accountable for what they put on the market, without taking into account the management of the end of the useful life of their products.”
Greenpeace Africa, groundWork and other partners of Break Free From Plastic have asked the department to take measures to ensure greater responsibility for companies that manufacture and sell plastic products in South Africa.
They said that producers have a responsibility to reduce plastic production at source and to find alternative distribution channels that guarantee a sustainable future and an end to the plastic pollution crisis.