Maputo – A group of 100 women plastic waste collectors have begun a 12-week training course to develop their skills and expand their employment horizons in a job creation economic inclusion programme supported by Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) in Mozambique.
The women earn a living by collecting plastic bottles that they sell to recycling company AguaPET, which converts the bottles into polyethylene terephthalate (PET) flakes. The PET flakes are then transported to South Africa where they are recycled.
The training programme, known as VEM (Valorização e Empoderamento da Mulher), uses a train-the-trainer approach to ensure it can be expanded to reach 3,160 people in total.
The aim is to formalise an association of PET collectors, provide training in the areas of health and safety, technical skills and planning, leading, organising and controlling (PLOC), as well as to establish formal collection teams which empower the PET collectors as business owners.
Four participants from last year’s PET training programme will continue their professional development with support from professional consultancy F&H, and act as teaching assistants to support the participants in this year’s programme.
The programme will provide health and safety training to the waste collectors and the greater community in the areas of handwashing and preventative healthcare, as well as sessions with a health physician to address personalised questions and concerns.
Participants will also be trained in collection standards, especially identifying PET plastic and sorting it appropriately. The community will also be educated on the impact of collecting and recycling plastic, both locally and globally, with the aim of creating a sense of pride in the work of the collectors.
CCBA in Mozambique General Manager, Duncan Wyness said: “This programme is aligned with our growth objectives to create a stronger, more successful Coca-Cola system in Africa through job creation, skills development and social development via waste recycling.
“We are a proud industry leader in developing increasingly sustainable ways to manufacture, distribute and sell our products. We use our industry leadership to be part of the solution to achieve positive change in the world and to build a more sustainable future for our planet,” said Wyness.
“We’re working toward solutions to create a circular economy that benefits society and works for our business. We’ve set ambitious goals for our business, to take responsibility for our packaging across its lifecycle and reduce ocean pollution.”
As part of the Coca-Cola system’s World Without Waste initiative, CCBA has committed to help collect a bottle or can for every one it sells by 2030, make all its packaging 100% recyclable by 2025, to have 50% recycled content in its packaging by 2030 and make 25% of its packaging reusable by 2030.
“We want to make recycling more accessible and to achieve 100% collection and recycling by 2030,” said Wyness.
Last year, CCBA directly empowered 50 women through the training programme in Mozambique and through the train-the-trainer model reached a total of 3,034 women.