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Diageo, Unilever, Coca Cola, Nestle pledge to reduce plastic waste in Africa

Major companies including Diageo, Unilever, Coca Cola and Nestle have launched The Africa Plastics Recycling Alliance, which is a new partnership that aims to tackle plastic waste in Sub Saharan Africa and create green jobs.  

The companies will support local subsidiaries to work with public and private bodies and share knowledge, encourage innovation and collaborate on technical and other solutions appropriate for Sub-Saharan Africa. They also hope to participate in local pilot initiatives surrounding recycling.

Another key element of the alliance will be engaging with the investment community, policymakers and others to accelerate and finance waste management infrastructure in these countries.

The Africa Plastics Recycling Alliance spokesperson said: ‘Plastics will remain an important packaging material if we are to give African consumers the safe and affordable products they need.  However, we need to ensure that the packaging used ends up in the right place.

‘Unfortunately, a lack of collection and recycling capacity in many African markets coupled with growing populations is creating a growing problem of plastics waste.  We see an opportunity to tackle that problem in a way that creates jobs and reduces dependency on imported materials while alternatives to plastics are developed.

‘Collaboration within and across markets will be key to success so we are proud to launch the Africa Plastics Recycling Alliance today to increase those efforts and play our part as companies in finding solutions that work for Africa.’

Earlier this month, Environment Journal reported on an initiative called Project Butterfly, which is helping to tackle the problem of plastic waste in the townships of South Africa.

Introduced in 2017 in Tembisa, Johannesburg and now also active in Durban, Project Butterfly works with non-profit organizations and local communities to tackle poor waste management through education, clean-ups and innovation-focused initiatives.

In 2018, Project Butterfly teamed up with the Wildtrust, a leading South African environmental NGO that helps local people become ‘wastepreneurs’, to generate income through the collection and exchange of recyclable waste.

To date, more than 715 ‘wastepreneurs’ have participated in the initiative, playing a vital role in the plastics value chain by ensuring that waste reaches the Wildlands Recycling Depot.

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