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Coca-Cola Uganda Partners with Acacia Foundation to Address Plastic Waste Challenge

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National Research Repository of Uganda (NRU) reported a six-fold increase in the import and use of packaging and plastics in the country over the past three years, presenting a mounting challenge for sustainable plastic imports, product packaging, and waste management. With less than 5% of plastics being recycled, this surge has led to environmental damage, evident in the overflow of plastic into landfills, lakes, and rivers.

To tackle these challenges associated with plastic waste management, Coca-Cola Beverages Uganda (CCBU), a socially responsible organization, has taken a proactive stance. The company has partnered with the Acacia Foundation, a recycling outfit, to enhance and support their operations. The partnership agreement outlines CCBU’s commitment to grant access to its bottle collection and sorting centers nationwide, provide logistical assistance for transportation, and facilitate access to financing at favorable terms for the Acacia Foundation.

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As a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa and the leading soft drink producer in Uganda, CCBU has formalized its commitment to collaborate with the Acacia Foundation through a memorandum of understanding to address plastic waste management. This three-year renewable agreement, subject to meeting set goals, is part of CCBU’s larger initiative, Plastic Recycling Industries (PRI), aimed at promoting environmental conservation and protection by actively supporting plastic collection and recycling in Uganda.

Kirunda Magoola, the Director of Public Affairs, Communication, and Sustainability at CCBU, expressed the company’s dedication to reducing plastic waste. “We are engaging communities in education campaigns to encourage recycling through various means, such as consumer campaigns and on-package messaging, aiming to foster a healthier environment for all. At CCBU, our goal is to enhance the sustainability of our value chain by manufacturing, distributing, and selling our products in more environmentally responsible ways. Leveraging our reach and scale, we aim to make a substantial difference and drive positive change to steer our planet towards a more sustainable future.”

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As part of the collaboration, CCBU will also extend marketing and communication support to the Acacia Foundation, connecting it with PET lobby groups to assist in achieving the partnership’s outlined targets. In return, the Acacia Foundation will provide PET flakes meeting agreed specifications to CCBU or its affiliates and collaborate with companies and organizations in the plastic recycling sector to bolster CCBU’s waste management and environmental restoration efforts.

In the ongoing endeavor to manage plastic waste, CCBU has set ambitious targets to make 25% of its packaging reusable by 2030 and achieve a 100% collection rate for recycling. Additionally, they aim to create a packaging system using at least 50% recycled material by the same year.

Tony Nie, the Chairman of the Acacia Foundation, praised CCBU for its commitment to managing plastic waste and stressed the importance of collective responsibility in creating a safer environment for present and future generations. “Everyone has a role to play. Our partnership with CCBU will enable us to develop plastic recycling awareness programs, including clean-up initiatives that will benefit society and enhance plastic waste collection,” Nie emphasized.

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