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Coca-Cola partners with MSMEs to create circular economy for recyclable PET plastic bottles 

Published Sep 30, 2022 4:00 pm

Coca-Cola in the Philippines has been accelerating its nationwide sustainability programs through its network of traditional retail outlet partners while contributing to opportunities for additional livelihood through its "Tapon to Ipon; Basta Klaro, Panalo!' and "Tindahan Extra Mile" programs. 

In 2018, The Coca-Cola Company announced its global vision of a World Without Waste that aims to drive a circular economy for its packaging, including the ambitious goals of helping collect a bottle or can for everyone it sells by 2030 and using at least 50% recycled content in its packaging by 2030.

Four years into this journey, the company understands more than ever the importance of partnerships to achieve these goals. 

Sari-sari stores as collection hubs for recyclable PET plastic bottles 

In the Philippines, Coca-Cola has partnered with traditional trade outlets like sari-sari stores and wholesaler partners to have them become collection points for used clear PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottles, to further promote a circular economy for this type of packaging material.

Almost 100 traditional retail outlets that help bring Coca-Cola products closer to Filipino homes are now Tapon to Ipon collection hubs through which community members can drop off their post-consumer clear PET plastic bottles for recycling.

PET is a type of packaging that is recyclable and, therefore, when collected, can be turned into new bottles or used for other new uses. These traditional outlets are enabled through programs such as Tapon to IponBasta Klaro, Panalo! and Tindahan Extra Mile.

“Throughout our operations, our range of sustainability programs—from water management and energy efficiency to packaging innovations—are supported and continually improved by our investments aligned with our World Without Waste goals and by our strong partnerships with those who share the same vision for a sustainable future,” says Gareth McGeown, president and CEO of Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines Inc. (CCBPI), the bottling arm of Coca-Cola in the country.

“We are always grateful to have partners among the country’s micro-retailers, who are so integral to their communities. We’ve found a way to increase avenues for our livelihood support for them through programs like Tapon to Ipon, which also leverages our traditional retail partners’ influence within communities and raises awareness about recycling,” adds McGeown. 

Tapon to Ipon—Basta Klaro, Panalo!

Launched in 2021, CCBPI’s Tapon to Ipon program taps traditional trade outlets or sari-sari stores, wholesalers, and distributors as collection hubs where community members can drop off (tapon) their used clear PET plastic bottles of any brand and get incentives in return (ipon). This program highlights the value of clear PET plastic bottles over colored ones, which chart lower in terms of recyclability.

Sari-sari store hubs under this program also receive incentives from Coca-Cola, thus creating an additional source of income for MSMEs—supporting the growth of a sector that is integral to the country’s economic recovery. These outlets that help bring Coca-Cola products closer to Filipino homes are now also hubs through which clear, used PET plastic bottles are collected for recycling.

As of September 2022, there are almost 100 Tapon to Ipon collection hubs across the Philippines—with the goal of launching a total of 500 sari-sari store collection hubs by the end of 2022. 

The support of local government units has been key in making CCBPI’s Tapon to Ipon collection program a success. Currently, the program is present in nine areas: Manila, Batangas, Pasay, Cavite, Davao, Bukidnon, North and South Cotabato, and General Santos.

CCBPI continues to accelerate the program’s expansion in 2022, through the efforts of its own sales team on the ground. 

Malaking tulong sa amin ang Tapon to Ipon program,” says Marilyn Co, store owner of Driver’s Cafeteria in Manila City. “Bilang collection hubs, nagagamit namin yung natatanggap naming incentives para mapalago ang negosyo, wala nang tinatapong plastic bottles sa paligid. Excited palagi yung customers namin pag dinadala nila dito yung PET nila at nakakatanggap sila ng Coke.”

Tindahan Extra Mile Balik PET Bottle Program

After months of pilot, Coca-Cola Philippines, in partnership with Basic Environmental Systems and Technologies (BEST) and the Philippine Association of Stores and Carinderia Owners (PASCO), formally started last July collection efforts under Tindahan Extra Mile Balik PET Bottle program. 

Every week, Tindahan Extra Milers bring their PET bottles to any of the 35 collection hubs for recording and redeeming of environmental points or redeemable items equivalent.

Tindahan Extra Mile (TEM) Balik PET Bottle program is a PET collection for recycling initiative that aims to establish sari-sari stores as collection points while at the same time providing additional income or items to sell from the exchange of recyclable plastics. TEM also seeks to promote waste segregation at source by leveraging on the proximity of TEM sari-sari stores and carinderia to households, bringing collection closer to the reach of consumers. 

Through the partnership with BEST, TEM sari-sari stores and carinderia owners can register to its Cashback bXTRA app to earn points that they can use for payment of various bills or redeem Coca-Cola products or merchandise. 

“We recognize our role and responsibility to help address the plastic packaging waste issue. In the Philippines, we have aligned our partnerships with our World Without Waste goals and an integral part of that is our partnerships with sari-sari stores and carinderia who we are proud to serve,” says Tony del Rosario, president of Coca-Cola Philippines.

As of August 2022, over 400 retail stores in Metro Manila have enrolled and 35 collection hubs have been activated. 

Pioneering technology for recycling

The goal is for collected bottles from Coca-Cola's collection programs to ultimately end up at the PETValue Philippines recycling facility in General Trias, Cavite, for recycling. 

PETValue Philippines, the first bottle-to-bottle recycling facility in the Philippines, is a joint venture of CCBPI with Indorama Ventures, a global leader in green technology and packaging solutions. The facility will employ the safest and most advanced bottle-to-bottle recycling technology that will transform used clear PET plastic bottles into new bottle packaging. 

“Coca-Cola has been in the Philippines for over 110 years, and it has always been our priority to do our part in building a better world for the communities we serve by operating and growing our business sustainably,” says McGeown. 

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Editor’s Note: This article was provided by Coca-Cola Philippines.