Plastic Reborn, a plastic waste collection initiative by Coca-Cola Foundation Indonesia in partnership with philanthropy Ancora Foundation. (Photo Courtesy of Coca-Cola Indonesia)

Coca-Cola Indonesia on the Journey to A World Without Waste

BY :JAYANTY NADA SHOFA

MARCH 02, 2022

Jakarta. In 2018, Atlanta-based carbonated drink giant Coca-Cola unveiled its “World Without Waste” vision. As the name suggests, the World Without Waste is a long-term recycling goal set to be accomplished by Coca-Cola’s operations across the globe, including in Indonesia. 

The World Without Waste vision embraces a goal to collect and recycle a plastic bottle or can for every one Coca-Cola sells by 2030.

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The company also commits to use at least 50 percent on average recycled content in its packaging by the same year and to make products packaging 100% recyclable by 2025. But what is local arm Coca-Cola Indonesia’s plan to turn this “world without waste” vision into reality? Especially in a country that still struggles to manage its waste.

National Plastic Action Partnership (NPAP) data shows Indonesia generates 6.8 million tons of plastic waste every year, and a whopping 61 percent of that is uncollected. About 620,000 tons of the generated plastic waste leak into the sea, lakes, and rivers.

“Indonesia’s recycling infrastructure is still inadequate. Indonesia only collects 39 percent [of its plastic waste]. About 7 percent of the plastic collected by the informal sector and they take the high-value [recycling] materials. This is where companies like us can play a role to boost waste collection,” Director of Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability PT Coca-Cola Indonesia Triyono Prijosoesilo told the Jakarta Globe in an interview on Monday (21/2/2022).

“Through the holistic three-pillar [Design, Collect & Partner] of our vision, we do believe what we do really aligns with the government’s goals, if we take a look at Indonesia’s pledge to slash 70 percent of marine plastic debris [by 2025]. There is also the national commitment for 70 percent waste management [by 2025]. The government also expects producers to reduce 30 percent waste in 2029,” he added.

According to Triyono, Coca-Cola Indonesia began intensifying its packaging waste collection efforts in 2020. Among others by forming the non-profit Indonesia Packaging Recovery Organization (IPRO), together with five other like-minded companies that are members of the Packaging and Recycling Association for Indonesia Sustainable Environment (PRAISE). 

“Coca-Cola Indonesia is also working alongside startups and communities to enhance the collection ecosystem via the Plastic Reborn initiative. Through our latest Plastic Reborn project, we equip the [informal sector including garbage pickers] with digital technology to boost the collection rate of recyclable materials and improve their livelihood,” Triyono said. 

“Garbage pickers are the spearhead of plastic waste management in Indonesia, but all this time, they have been somewhat forgotten. This is why we are trying to build awareness.” 

Another initiative was a three-month long, customer-focused #RecycleMe campaign launched last October, during which Coca-Cola Indonesia’s beverage bottles had labels with the phrase “Recycle Me” message written. The label was to encourage customers to recycle their PET bottles once they have enjoyed their drinks.

All these efforts brought Coca-Cola Indonesia’s collection rate in 2021 to top 20 percent equivalent to the plastic bottles that the company had put in the market, according to Triyono. 

 “This marks a significant milestone. Of course, we will continue to increase our [plastic packaging collection rate] every year towards the 100 percent goal in 2030. We do hope that we can achieve this target sooner than 2030,” Triyono said.

In 2022, Coca-Cola Indonesia will push forward industry solutions like the IPRO and partnerships with the informal sector, among others.

“IPRO currently focuses on Bali, Lombok, and East Java. It has just recently expanded to West Java last year,” Triyono told the Globe.

“We will encourage IPRO to expand to other regions in the country, while also exploring various partnership models with the recycling industry players, as well as the formal and informal collection sectors,” he added.

When asked if the company would launch a campaign similar to #RecycleMe this year, Triyono said that would depend on the program evaluations. According to Triyono, Coca-Cola Indonesia is trying to find ways to directly connect with the consumers, and also make it easier for them to contribute in boosting the waste collection rate.

During the interview, Triyono revealed there were currently not many recycling facilities in Indonesia that could produce food-grade quality of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET).

“Our bottling partner Coca-Cola Europacific Partners [CCEP] is investing in building a recycling facility for a food-grade quality of recycled PET (rPET) in Indonesia, which is expected to operate this year,” Triyono said, when explaining his plans for the recycled content target.

“If God wills, we will launch bottles made from 100 percent recycled PET for the first time in Indonesia, sometime by  this year although we still cannot reveal the exact date yet. But, we will most likely launch it some time during the third or fourth quarter,” he added.

 

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