He has been into recycling all his life, and now Luis Avellar, the general manager of Coca-Cola’s South African franchise, can take his personal philosophy into the wider world with his company’s global commitment to a world without waste.
In January last year, Coca-Cola announced an industry first goal to collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle or can it sells globally by 2030.
The company and its global network of bottling partners will tackle the ambitious goal, which is part of a holistic plan called World Without Waste, through a renewed focus on the entire packaging life cycle – from how bottles and cans are designed and made, to how they’re recycled and repurposed.
James Quincey, the president and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, says: “Consumers around the world care about our planet. They want and expect companies like ours to be leaders and help make a litter-free world possible.”
Avellar is tasked with making this goal a reality in South Africa, and it’s going pretty well already.
Coca-Cola’s 100% collection and recycling goal will primarily focus on bottles, cans and caps made from glass, PET plastic or aluminium, but also includes packages produced by other companies.
By 2025 in South Africa, the company wants to make sure its packaging is 100% recyclable, he says.
By 2030, the goal a 100% recycling rate from everything the company puts out.
Coca-Cola and its bottlers got together with other manufacturers in South Africa to form the PET Recycling Company (Petco) in 2004.
This nonprofit organisation collects a voluntary recycling fee from converters and importers of PET resin, the main material in plastic beverage bottles.
As a result of the Petco system in South Africa, the recycling rate of PET in the country has rocketed from just 14% in 2005 to more than 63% of total PET volumes last year.
This puts South Africa ahead of developed markets, such as the EU (60%) and US (28.4%), when it comes to PET collection rates.Last year, the Coca-Cola system in South Africa collected more PET than it put into the market – 113% to be precise – Avellar says.
Avellar, who hails from Brazil, has been here for six months, but has always recycled his household rubbish.
“We all have a role to play in recycling. We are global citizens and we should care about our water bodies and communities. It’s quite easy to play your part.”