Coca-Cola hopes to achieve 100% recycling of bottles, cans in 2-3 years in India

New Delhi, 6 Jun (PTI): Coca-Cola Company on Monday said its India business is hopeful of achieving 100 per cent recovery and recycling of post-consumer packaging, mainly bottles and cans, in the next 2-3 years as part of its ‘World Without Waste’ initiative.

The ‘World Without Waste’ is a global initiative under which the company aims to collect and recycle every bottle or can that it sells globally by 2030.

Recycling post-consumer packaging is one of the three focus areas of Coca-Cola Company’s ESG (Environment, Sustainability and Governance) priorities. The other two are related to water and sustainable agriculture.

Speaking to PTI, Coca-Cola India Vice President Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability Devyani Rajya Laxmi Rana said the company’s focus is on recovery and recycling of bottles and cans, and not the Multi-Layered Plastic (MLP).

MLP, a type of plastic used in packaging of food items such as chips, biscuits, chocolates and other snacks, is most difficult to recycle, she added.

Coca-Cola India Director (CSR and Sustainability for India and South West Asia) Rajesh Ayapilla said, “About 62,825 tonnes of post-consumer packaging was recovered in 2020. We refilled or helped recover 36 per cent of bottles and cans, equivalent to what we introduced into the marketplace in India.” The company through its focus on three fundamental goals — design, collect and partner — is laying emphasis on entire packaging lifecycle — from how bottles and cans are designed and produced to how they are recycled and repurposed.

The company by design is making packaging more sustainable, including redesigning lightweight packaging, maximising use of recycled content and introducing innovative packaging, he said.

Ayapilla further said the company, along with its partners, is working to develop sustainable, community-led programmes for integrated plastic waste management and promote efficient recycling in India.

He said the company is promoting segregation of waste at source, streamlining collection mechanisms and helping build infrastructure to recycle post-consumer packaging into value-added products.

The company has partnered with multiple agencies like Saahas, Chintan, American India Foundation, Mahila Sewa Trust (SEWA), Hasiru Dala Foundations for setting up self-sustaining waste management infrastructure and models, bringing about citizenship awareness and movements, improving livelihoods of waste workers, and women workers associated with the programmes by providing social security and dignity of labour, he said.

With these efforts, Ayapilla said, “We are hopeful of achieving 100 per cent collection of bottles and cans for recycling in next 2-3 years. That is our internal target. In 2020, we had achieved 36 per cent.”