Coca-Cola Maldives and MOPA Make Waves in Ensuring ‘Trash Free Seas’
On September 16, 2023, millions of volunteers around the world will join the International Coastal Clean-up Day, a global movement to remove trash from beaches and waterways. But for Male’ Aerated Water Company (Coca-Cola Maldives), the local bottling partner of The Coca-Cola Company, and its partner, Maldives Ocean Plastics Alliance (MOPA), every day is a coastal clean-up day, and an opportunity to reducing ocean plastics to create ‘Trash Free Seas’ as signified by the International Coastal Clean-up Day.
Coca-Cola Maldives in association with MOPA, has been implementing various projects since 2021 to collect and recycle PET plastic bottles, which are 100% recyclable and versatile. Through these projects, Coca-Cola Maldives has collected over 200,000 kgs of PET bottles in the past two and a half years, preventing them from ending up in landfills or the ocean – a response that aligns with International Coastal Clean-up Day’s goal of ‘Trash Free Seas’.
The projects are part of Coca-Cola Maldives’ commitment to sustainability and aligns with The Coca-Cola Company’s global strategy of creating a World Without Waste. The company aims to collect and recycle a bottle or can for each one it sells before 2030 and make 100% of its packaging recyclable by 2025. It also strives to use at least 50% recycled material in its packaging by 2030.
Coca-Cola Maldives and MOPA are working together on three major projects that aim to create a circular economy for plastic and to clean up our oceans, so that all those that live in the ocean can #SeaTheChange.
“MOPA is proud to partner with Coca-Cola Maldives in addressing the growing problem of plastic waste pollution in our country, and join the global International Coastal Clean-up Day’s message of ‘Trash Free Seas’. We believe in working with manufacturers, importers, retailers, consumers, tapping into corporate social responsibility initiatives to safeguard our pristine environment,” MOPA’s Founder and Chairman Thoriq Ibrahim said.
The first project is the Reverse PET Collection Project, which involves collecting PET bottles from Male, the capital city of Maldives, the adjoining city Hulhumale and the southernmost Addu city, and transporting them abroad for recycling. Since the project’s launch in 2021, it has collected about 150,000 Kgs of waste until the first half of 2023. The project also provides income generation opportunities for local waste collectors and transporters.
The second project is the Island PET Collection Project, which covers 4 inhabited islands across multiple atolls in Maldives. The project collects PET bottles from households, shops, schools and other sources and sends them to Male’ for further processing. It has resulted in the collection of 60,000 Kgs of waste in the first six months of this year. The project also raises awareness among island communities about the importance of proper waste management and recycling.
The third and newest project is the Resort PET Collection Project, which targets the tourism sector in Maldives. The project collects PET bottles from resorts located in several atolls including Shaviyani and Noonu in the north, Kaafu in the central region, and Dhaalu and Addu in the south, and sends them to Male for recycling. Since its launch in December 2021, it has resulted in the recovery of about 7,500 Kgs of waste until the end of Q2 2023. The project also encourages resorts and guesthouses to adopt better waste management practices to ensure that the Maldives’ oceans are free from trash.
Giving a boost to these collection initiatives, MOPA recently inaugurated the first Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in the Maldives. MRFs play a crucial role in waste management, recycling PET plastic, and promoting a circular economy by reducing waste, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and extending the life of recyclable materials. The MOPA MRF, was funded by The Coca-Cola Foundation, is located in Hulhumale Phase 2 and is equipped with machinery for sorting, baling, and exporting PET plastic waste for recycling. It also contributes to community employment opportunities and awareness initiatives.
“Maldives is taking significant strides towards a cleaner, greener future. As the state-owned waste management company, we take our responsibility to support PET collection initiatives by producers like Coca-Cola and organisations like MOPA that support the global call for Trash Free Seas. We believe that such collection initiatives are not just about recycling; they are about redefining our commitment to sustainability and safeguarding our pristine environment,” adds Yoosuf Siraj, Managing Director of Waste Management Corporation Limited (WAMCO).
By partnering with local stakeholders such as island councils, resorts and guesthouses, Coca-Cola Maldives and MOPA are also creating value for society and fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation. The projects provide income opportunities to local people, especially women and youth, who are involved in collecting, sorting and transporting PET bottles. The projects also educate people about the benefits of recycling and inspires them to take action for a cleaner and greener future.
As the world celebrates International Coastal Clean-up Day 2023, Coca-Cola Maldives and MOPA invite everyone to join their efforts to #SeaTheChange during and after the International Coastal Clean-up Day and ensure ‘Trash Free Seas’.