Coca Cola Nigeria has entered into a partnership with Growing Business Foundation, GBF to empower 3,000 women and youth across Nigeria on plastic waste collection for recycling purposes.
Nigeria is said to generate about 32 million tons of waste per year which includes 200,000 tons of plastic waste and it is estimated that plastic production will rise to 523,000 tons by the end of 2022. If not properly managed, it will pose a greater danger to the environment.
Much of the wastes including plastics are unfortunately indiscriminately disposed of, thereby blocking drainages, polluting water and leading to the loss of aquatic life.
It is therefore expected that the project by Coca Cola will not only take plastics out of the environment but create jobs in a country where 33 percent of the citizens are unemployed.
“We have seen a gap in recycling. Our beverages are bottled in plastic packaging and this is a whole economy on its own. We want therefore to drive people to become environmentally conscious and while they are recycling the bottles, they are also making money”, Amaka Onyemelukwe, Director, Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability at Coca-Cola company told BusinessDay at the launch of Scaling Nigeria’s Platiconomy in Lagos designed to empower plastic collectors.
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She explained that the project is an initiative of Coca Cola Foundation which is the philanthropic arm of the company. The foundation funds NGOs to be able to intervene in social good in the society and that is why GBF is attractive as they have been in business for 23 years and they have empowered many Nigerians. This programme has pan Nigeria reach, she said.
Also speaking, Ndidi Nnoli Edozien, the founder of GBF said the whole idea of empowering Collectors initiative to grow and scale the plasticonomy and make sure Nigerians are not creating waste but creating wealth and use what is called waste as a resource to create value.
According to her, the target in the 24 months first phase of the initiative is to collect 25,000 metric tonnes of plastic waste, and doing that “we are empowering 10 aggregate companies across 6 different states in Nigeria and empowering 3,000 collectors and a significant number of them will be female”. 1,000 metric tons of bottles is equivalent to 20 million – 50 million of bottles.
On the value of the waste recycling business in Nigeria, Edozien said though there is a different estimation of the value but it is an average $1 billion market.” It is a significant industry and there is a lot of scope across the value and supply chain for businesses to grow and thrive”.
Also speaking at the event, Samuel Egube, Commissioner of economic planning and budget identified that the initiative is ideal for Lagos saying that Nigerians need to move out to minimize plastic waste as it is becoming a pandemic.