Lusaka – Efforts to combat plastic waste received a major boost today when a group of 300 women and youth who have been trained in waste management by Coca-Cola Beverages Zambia (CCBZ) graduated from the programme.
Honourable Gary Nkombo, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, was the keynote speaker at the ceremony and congratulated the graduates on completing the training, which has equipped them with the knowledge to operate as waste reclaimers and earn an income from plastic waste collection for recycling.
The training was held at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre over three days from 27 September, starting with theory, followed by a site visit to a landfill and finishing with a visit to recyclers.
“The interconnected global challenges of packaging waste and climate change have made this a focus for our business and communities,” said CCBZ Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability Director, Fronscen Haloba.
“The Coca-Cola Company and its bottling partners are taking a hard look at the packaging we use and how we can drive change.
“Our sustainable packaging strategy aims to create systemic change through a circular economy for our packaging – from how bottles and cans are designed and manufactured, to how they’re recycled and reused.
“We have a responsibility to help solve the global plastic waste crisis, and we’re leveraging our scale and reach across markets to achieve our sustainability goals and reduce waste pollution,” Haloba said.
“CCBZ, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, has committed to invest in our planet and our packaging, to help put an end to the plastic waste crisis, working in partnership with The Coca-Cola Company which launched a sustainable packaging initiative called World Without Waste in 2018.”
As a group, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa has committed to collecting a bottle or can for every one it sells by 2030, make all its packaging 100% recyclable by 2025, have 50% recycled content in its packaging by 2030 and make 25% of its packaging reusable by 2030.
“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,” said Haloba.
“We want our business and the communities we serve to benefit from greater shared opportunity. This is about more than the bottom line, because opportunity is not measured by money alone. Opportunity means a better future for people across the African continent.
“We are working in our communities to educate people on why and how to recycle through training like this one, on-package messaging and more to create a healthier environment for all.
“Tackling the global plastic waste crisis requires cross-sector collaboration and alignment on common principles and targets,” said Haloba.
“We work with a range of stakeholders at a national and local level. This includes partnering with government and community organisations to strengthen recycling infrastructure and boost collection rates, collaborating with customers, peers and industry associations to support a circular economy; and teaming up with suppliers, startups and R&D partners to fuel sustainable packaging innovation.
“By following our values and working for a better shared future, we create inclusive growth that benefits communities, women and youth, our customers, our employees and our shareholders.”