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Waste collectors overjoyed at Pet bottles

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Myriads of waste and recycled items collectors will leverage Coca-Cola’s two-litre returnable polyethylene terephthalate (Pet) bottles initiative which will be rolled out in Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga, to reduce plastic waste.
Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) is extending the roll-out of its new two-litre returnable Pet bottle, offering consumers value for money, while including them as an important part of the recycling value chain.
For each bottle a consumer returns, they receive a R9 deposit, meaning if it costs R20, a consumer will ultimately only pay R11.
The returnable bottles are made of Pet plastic and are labelled with a new paper label, with the word ‘RETURNABLE’ appearing in green on the front of the bottle.
Through the returnable bottle system, these PET bottles can be reused a number of times, until the end of their reusable lifecycle.
The recommended retail price for the two-litre Coca-Cola Original Taste – Less Sugar beverage is R15, which excludes a R9 deposit. Other brands, such as Coca-Cola No Sugar, Sprite and Fanta, are also available in the new two-litre returnable PET plastic bottle at a recommended retail price of R12, excluding the R9 deposit.
Oscar Mohale and Tshepo Mapheto who collect and recycle waste for a living in Polokwane said through the initiative they will be able to make extra money.
“We have already started to collect the bottles and we are ready to trade them. We are unemployed and if we don’t recycle items we won’t be able to generate any form of income. We will make good use of this opportunity.”
Reginald Mantagase, who collects paper and cardboard boxes in Polokwane, described the initiative as an added incentive.
“It is another stream of income and we live on opportunities like these. I have already set a target for myself. I want to make R2 000 a week. For me to attain that target I must collect 50 bottles a day and I am going to do it.”
The returnable Pet is part of Coca-Cola Company’s World Without Waste vision that aims to collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle and can it sells globally by 2030. This vision looks at the entire packaging value chain – from how bottles and cans are designed and made, to how they’re collected, recycled and reused again later.
Once a bottle is returned to Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa, it will go on a looped journey to be cleaned to Coca-Cola’s stringent measures and requirements, then refilled to start its next lifecycle.
After each bottle reaches the end of its usable life cycle, it joins the recycling value chain and is repurposed to become another Pet product.
According to the Pet Recycling Company (Petco), 62% of Pet bottles were collected after use and recycled in South Africa last year. The Coca-Cola system in South Africa currently uses an average of 8% recycled content in its bottles and the more bottles are collected and recycled, the more recycled content the company can use in its bottles.
Velaphi Ratshefola, Managing Director of Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) said after launching these bottles in the Eastern Cape, the consumer response was so positive that they are now rolling them out in Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
“These returnable Pet bottles are how we are investing in innovative and more sustainable packaging to support The Coca-Cola Company’s global commitments to address the world’s waste problem. We are committed to increasing recycled material in our packaging and ensuring more packaging is collected and recycled. The launch of the returnable Pet plastic bottle is another way we support a circular economy in South Africa,” Ratshefola said.

Story: Herbert Rachuene
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