Port Moresby residents can now return their empty PET plastic beverage bottles in exchange for cash, as the result of a partnership between Coca-Cola Europacific Partners PNG (CCEP PNG), Coca-Cola Papua New Guinea and Branis Recycling Limited.
CCEP PNG Sales and Commercial Director, Tim Solly, said: “As a beverage manufacturer in PNG, we believe it is our responsibility to have a long-term commitment to the sustainability of our packaging. Packaging waste is undoubtedly a major challenge, and it’s also a solvable one if we take action. Our plastic bottles have an ongoing intrinsic value, and we need to treat them this way.”
“We have partnered with Branis Recycling Limited to collect PET plastic beverage bottles to prevent them going into landfill, waterways or the environment. Members of the public are paid an incentive of one kina per kilo. The collected beverage bottles are pre-processed, using a shredder, and then sent offshore for further recycling due to the absence of a PET resin recycling facility in the country,” he said.
Beginning as a pilot in August 2022, 40 tonnes of PET plastic beverage bottles have already been collected and shipped offshore for recycling as part of the program. Consumers can bring their empty PET plastic beverage bottles, of any brand, to Branis collection centres at Ahuia Street, Gordons; Spondias Street, Hohola; and Movivina Street, Gerehu, Stage 6 and they will be paid in cash for the return of the bottles.
There is no need to remove caps or labels from the beverage bottle. No washing is also necessary, unless they have been used to store oil, detergent or another non-beverage substance.
To help increase the capacity of beverage bottles that can be recycled, Coca-Cola in PNG has also purchased two PET shredders which will pre-process the material and turn the PET beverage bottles into flake, making it easier and more cost effective to ship the material offshore. Up until now, PET plastic beverage bottles have been baled before being shipped.
One of the shredders, the first to be operational in the country under the agreement, is now situated at Branis’s site in Gerehu, Stage 6, Port Moresby and will soon be flaking PET plastic beverage bottles.
“If we can turn the bottles into plastic flake before they are exported, it means more bottles can be recycled because it significantly reduces the costs of shipping,” said Mr Solly.
He said CCEP PNG and Coca-Cola Papua New Guinea aim to expand PET collection across the country,
with plans for collection to begin next in Lae, Morobe Province. The second shredder will be based at
Branis’s site, along Speedway Drive, Limki.
“The ability to recycle PET plastic beverage bottles is only one piece of the puzzle. Education and awareness of how to recycle is critical. That’s why we’ll soon begin using the well-recognised Coca-Cola brand to encourage recycling behaviour in Papua New Guinea,” Mr Solly said.
Russell Mahoney, Vice President of Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability for Coca-Cola ASEAN & South Pacific, said the company is very proud to be launching PET collection in PNG in partnership with CCEP PNG and Branis Recycling.
“Like most people, we don’t want to see our bottles end up as litter. We are committed to doing more
and being part of the solution. Our ultimate goal is to help collect and recycle the equivalent of one bottle for every bottle we bring to the market by 2030.”
“However, we can’t achieve our goals alone. Addressing plastic waste and recycling challenges requires
collaboration between industry, the public sector and civil society and we look forward to working with
these groups in Papua New Guinea to significantly increase the amount of PET plastic beverage bottles collected,” Mr Mahoney said.
The collection of PET plastic beverage bottles is one of several sustainability initiatives currently being undertaken by the Coca-Cola system in PNG.
In 2020 CCEP PNG operated a can collection project in Kokopo, East New Britain Province, by placing collection bins in local markets, retail outlets and hotels. Coke bottle-shaped recycling bins have also been created for events, making it easy for people to recycle their empty bottles when they are out and
In addition, CCEP’s sustainability targets include goals on decarbonising the business, sustainable sourcing of ingredients, water security, building a resilient, low carbon supply chain and championing inclusion.