Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka Ltd, with funding from The Coca-Cola Foundation and the support of The Asia Foundation, Environment Foundation Limited and Eco Spindles (Pvt) Ltd, collaborated with Local Government Authorities to establish three Give Back Life PET plastic bottle collection centers in the South (Galle), East (Batticaloa) and North (Vavuniya) of Sri Lanka. These strategically located centers will support the collection, segregation, and bailing of PET bottles which will then later be recycled into yarn and brushes in Sri Lanka.
In 2018, The Coca-Cola Company, through the announcement of the ‘World Without Waste’ program renewed its investment in sustainable packaging globally so that all its packaging can enjoy a life beyond being beverage containers. Additionally, the company will lead the industry in seeking partners to collaborate on meaningful solutions to clean up existing packaging from the environment and developing effective collection and recycling systems. The Give Back Life program in Sri Lanka falls under the global world without waste agenda whose goal is to support any and every PET bottle on the island to re-fulfill its destiny and become something fantastic again.
Hon. Mr. Priyantha Sahabandu – The Mayor of Galle, noted, “We were initially very excited to learn of Coca-Cola’s initiative to recycle PET bottles and today a PET recovery center in Galle has been launched which will undoubtedly strengthen our mandate to combat plastic pollution while enhancing our waste collection methods in the city of Galle and beyond.”
Hon. Thiagaraja Saravanapavan – The Mayor of Batticaloa, noted saying, “Setting up dedicated PET Recovery Centers capable of collecting, segregating and equipped with baling facilities, will ensure a higher percentage of PET plastic waste collection in Batticaloa and livelihood opportunities for the people in the area.”
Mr. Ramalingam Gowthaman – The Chairman of the Vavuniya Municipal Council, commented, “This sustainable waste management initiative will allow respective local councils to earn extra revenue from the collection of PET to sustain the functioning of the center and could potentially lower costs related to solid waste management in the long term within the city of Vavuniya.”
Ms. Dinesha de Silva – Country Representative, The Asia Foundation commented ‘Ideally we would want to replicate these model sites across all the 341 Local Government Authorities in Sri Lanka. These collection centers will facilitate authorities to partner with schools, community-based organizations, and business associations in the future to champion a cleaner environment in their areas through the systematic collection of PET materials.’
Dr. Anush Amarasinghe – CEO, Eco Spindles Pvt Ltd. stated, “The simple act of recycling all PET plastics gives rise to new industries, employment opportunities, and cleaner cities, oceans and rivers. Expert opinion indicates that the benefits of PET packaging outweighs other forms of packaging provided the bottles are responsibly recycled. I would like to commend all the parties involved in this project.”
Ms. Chathurangi Wickramaratne – Head of Science, Environmental Foundation Limited stated, “EFL’s role has been to instill awareness in the communities of recycling PET plastic for a circular economy through the Give Back Life project. The three PET collection centers along with their baling facilities support the Local Government Authorities to fulfill their mandate of improving solid waste management systems in their respective areas. The public needs to be made aware that PET packaging is recyclable and that if responsibly disposed can be provided another life, purpose and use.”
Speaking at the three launches, Lakshan Madurasinghe – Director of Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability, Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka Ltd., said, “Coca-Cola in Sri Lanka is enthused about being part of such sustainable PET recycling initiatives, as the company works toward achieving its global goal of collecting and recycling a bottle or can for every one it sells globally by 2030. Coca-Cola Sri Lanka is privileged to work alongside such partners to establish a multi-stakeholder partnership in its Give Back Life PET plastic recycling initiative. This unique Public-Private Partnership model will demonstrate the critical and irreplaceable role that Local Government Authorities can play in the collection of PET materials in a sustainable manner and how by working together we can achieve a healthy, debris-free environment across our beautiful island.”
To date, the Give Back Life program has installed four PET Recovery Centers across the island, in Biyagama initially and now in Galle, Vavuniya and Batticaloa.