Last year, the National Research Repository of Uganda (NRU) indicated that imports and use of packaging and plastics in Uganda have increased by six-fold within the last three years which has escalated the growing challenge for sustainable plastic imports, product packaging, and waste management since less than 5% of plastics are recycled. This has resulted in plastic ending up in landfills, lakes, and rivers thus causing severe environmental damage.
Therefore, Coca-Cola Beverages Uganda, an environment-conscious entity -- has stepped in to manage challenges associated with plastic waste management. The company has partnered with a recycling outfit called the Acacia Foundation to boost the latter’s operations through an agreement where CCBU will provide access to its bottle collection and sorting centres across the country, logistical support for transport, and help in accessing financing at favourable terms.
CCBU, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa and the leading producer of soft drinks in the country, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Acacia Foundation committing to collaborate on plastic waste management. The three-year agreement, which is renewable subject to meeting targeted output, is part of CCBU's larger plan to mitigate plastic waste under the Plastic Recycling Industries (PRI) initiative through which CCBU promotes environmental conservation and protection by supporting collection and recycling of plastics in Uganda.
According to Kirunda Magoola, CCBU Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability Director the company is committed to supporting initiatives that seek to reduce plastic waste. “We are working in our communities to educate people on why and how to recycle through consumer campaigns, on-package messaging and more to create a healthier environment for all.
“At CCBU, we are leading the industry in making our value chain increasingly sustainable in the way that we manufacture our products, how we distribute them and how we sell them. We have the scale and reach to make a real difference, and we’re using our leadership position to drive change and help put our planet on a more sustainable path,” Magoola says.
CCBU will also provide marketing and communication support to Acacia Foundation and introduce it to PET lobby groups that will support it to achieve targets under the agreement. For its part, the Acacia Foundation will, among others, supply PET flakes of agreed specification to CCBU or its partners, and co-operate with companies and organisations in the plastic recycling sector to support CCBU’s initiatives related to waste management and environmental restoration.
In the last five years, CCBU has been a leader in the drive to manage plastic waste, with a target of making 25% of the company’s packaging reusable by 2030, while at the same time achieving a 100% collection rate for recycling, and creating a packaging system that uses at least 50% recycled material by 2030.
Tony Nie, the Chairman of the Acacia Foundation, applauded CCBU for its dedication to managing plastic waste, noting that it was time for all Ugandans, especially corporate organisations, to get involved in creating a Uganda that is safe for the current and future generations. “Everybody must do their part. This is why we believe that our partnership with CCBU is an important one since it will enable us to create plastic recycling awareness programmes such as clean-ups that will benefit society as well as improve the collection of plastic waste,” Nie said.