Coca-Cola Beverages Africa in Uganda, through its Plastic Recycling Industries initiative (PRI), has expanded its World without Waste partnerships in Uganda to increase plastic waste collection efforts countrywide.
The Company signed two separate Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with Kampala-based recycling companies FengHuang Plastics Industries and Aquila Investments Limited, committing to work together to step up collection and recycling.
“We are proud to be working together with new partners to increase the number of youth and women being gainfully employed in PET waste collection and recycling it into valuable material for manufacturing and export. Our responsibility is to collect and recycle plastics, and we would like to encourage everyone to join us in this cause. We are excited to have Fenghuang and Aquilla partner with us. Together we can do more,” said Samuel Kangave, PRI Manager.
Signing the partnerships at the Uganda Manufacturers’ Association (UMA) Showgrounds Coca-Cola stand today were, PRI Manager Samuel Kangave, Fenghuang Director Jackie Gong Younting, Aquila Investments Director Eng. Dickson Kwesiga, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa in Uganda Public Affairs & Communications Director Simon Kaheru.
Jackie Gong Younting, a Director at FengHuang – a limited liability company engaged in the recycling of plastics in Uganda, said her company has the capacity to recycle up to 500 tonnes a month and was excited to partner with Coca-Cola Beverages Africa to keep Uganda clean and green.
“We have been in Uganda for 10 years and over this period, we have employed thousands of Ugandan youth. Our main business is to recycle plastics especially PET and we are honoured to do it with a reputable and committed company such as Coca-Cola Beverages Africa. We want to keep Uganda clean and continue providing jobs for the youth,” she said.
The partner representatives said they were proud to be working together with them to increase the number of youth and women being gainfully employed in plastic waste recycling. Together, PRI, Fenghuang Plastic Industry and Aquila Investments collect over 1,500 tonnes of PET Waste a month for recycling into PET flakes.
Aquila Investments Limited Founder, Eng. Dickson Kwesiga, said his dream and ambition was to work with Coca-Cola Beverages Africa on reducing or eliminating plastic waste in Uganda.
“It has been my ambition for Aquila to partner with Coca-Cola and I am happy that we are here today. We are currently processing and exporting between 100 & 150 tonnes of PET per month, and with this new partnership, we will achieve a lot more. We have the same goals and objectives as of making Uganda cleaner,” said Eng. Dickson Kwesiga.
Plastic pollution is currently one of the biggest environmental concerns due to the rise of single-use plastics. It has toxic pollutants that damage the environment and cause land, water, and water pollution.
Studies estimate that only 500 tonnes of plastic waste in Uganda is being properly managed. This indicates a collection efficiency of 30%, implying that most of the waste generated is not safely recycled and goes into the environment. A recent study by UN Environment Program (UNEP) showed that plastic production has quadrupled over the past four decades— with its authors warning that if that trend continues, the making of plastics will make up 15% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
During the MoU signing at the Coca-Cola stand at Lugogo, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa Public Affairs & Communications Director, Simon Kaheru, said the business was committed to PET Waste collection as a sustainability pillar.
“We are very proud of the partnerships that we have built over the years on this journey to rid Uganda of plastic waste. We look forward to signing more partnerships of this nature to make a difference to all Ugandans down the generations. I call upon more partners to join this effort and for the government to take note that private businesses can exist to solve a social problems,” he said.
“The Coca-Cola Company globally launched our ‘World Without Waste’ initiative with an ambitious goal of helping to collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle sold globally by 2030. Partnerships are an important element of this ambition, and today we are moving closer to over-delivering on our target,” he said.
“Plastic waste separation and recycling is everyone’s responsibility, so I ask every Ugandan to think of Recycling when they use any plastics,” he added.
Since launching the initiative, the company has underwritten and implemented new recycling campaigns, as well as reinvented existing ones while adhering to the values of a closed-loop circular economy: a system in which all of the plastic packaging the company produces is designed to be recycled, kept in the economy, and reused in food and beverages.
At PRI, waste plastic is transformed into flake products which are mostly sold to foreign markets. These are then used to manufacture a range of products like polyester fibres (a base material for the production of clothing, pillows, carpets, etc.), polyester sheets, strapping, or back into PET bottles.