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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Envisioning a World Without Waste, One Bottle at a Time

By: Mark Bau

Coca-Cola Philippines brings its World Without Waste campaign to the shores of Siargao in collaboration with the local government unit—a partnership officially commemorated through a ceremonial pledge-signing on a surfboard made of recycled material.
The rise of plastic and single use packaging has been a major problem all over the world. Complicating matters further, is that the materials used stay in our environment for years to come, unable to decompose, compounding as years of undisciplined disposal go on, threatening the possibility of a sustainable ecosystem of provider and consumer.

Coca-Cola (and its many varied beverages) is as ubiquitous as products can get, but when your product gets as popular as Coke does, it’s not always going to be a pretty picture as thousands use and dispose packaging material at an all time high. Enter the Coca-Cola Company’s vision of a World Without Waste. Started in early 2018, the program aims to reshape its approach to packaging; from design and manufacturing, to the recycling and repurposing.

Over the years, the island of Siargao, has had a consistent increase in the flow of tourists who wish to bask in the Sun as they ride the waves of the Surfing Capital of the country. Although the booming tourism industry is more than welcome, what comes with it is the demand for improved waste management, better education to tourists and locals, and a complete reimagining of what sustainable tourism means.

Last Saturday, October 5, 2019, Coca Cola brought the World Without Waste to the Island of Siargao, through a partnership with its nine municipalities with the support of Cong. Bingo Matugas and the provincial government of Surigao del Norte headed by Gov. Francisco “Lalo” Matugas.

Speaking at the 25th Siargao’s International Surfing Cup, which served as a kick off point for the partnership of Coca-Cola and the Island of Siargao, Atty. Juan Lorenzo Tañada, Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, Inc. Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Director, shared the heart of World Without Waste program, and why Coca Cola invests so much into it:

This is because we understand, at the Coca-Cola company, we acknowledge that there is a problem that we have to face together. But we will not just sit by idly, and say that there is a problem and not do anything about it. So, we want to demonstrate our commitment and our resolve to ensure that our world, our planet, stays as habitable, as life sustaining as it can.

“We believe that sustainability, tourism, and business can go hand-in-hand when all parties from the private sector like Coca-Cola, us – your local public servants, and equally-passionate organizations and individuals work together toward a common vision. We all want to live in a World Without Waste, and I hope that that is a shared end goal that we can all help contribute towards reaching,” Mayor Cecilia Rusillon of General Luna Municipality added.

As a symbol of their partnership, Tañada, Mayor Cecilia Rusillon of the Municipality of General Luna in Siargao, and Congressman Francisco “Bingo” Matugas of the 1st district of Surigao del Norte signed a surfboard made from 100% recycled plastic installed at Cloud 9. The board serves as a constant reminder of everyone’s commitment to the cause of sustainable tourism.



A noticeable highlight as you stroll around Cloud 9 are colorful collection bins scattered along the beach. The bins serve as drop off points for anyone who wish to give plastic bottles another chance at life, as collected recyclable PET plastic bottles are turned over to the LGU’s local recycling partner for processing. As a display of the possibilities that may come when one properly disposes these recyclable plastic bottles, benches made from 100% recycled materials sit right beside the collection bins. Aside from benches, other products such as shirts, caps, and sunglasses all from recycled PET plastic bottles have also been made.

One of the nine benches made from 100% recycled bottles found in Cloud 9.

Some of the 24 Collection bins found all over Cloud 9 where people can drop off plastic bottles so they can be turned over for processing.
Aside from the Local Government, Coca-Cola has also made partnerships with a local group called the Sun Crew Siargao, a Coke Barkada Awardee, to impart the lessons of environmental awareness to the young people of the Island. The crew uses Surfing as the common ground of interest for kids and inspires them to stay in school.

Coke Barkada Awardee, The Sun Crew, granted with P30,000 personally awarded to (L-R) The Sun Crew Co-founder and Manager Wemar Bonono by Coca-Cola Philippines Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Director Atty. Juan Lorenzo Tañada.
As the World Without Waste campaign continues to make its mark in the country through more partnerships and an upcoming 1B-peso recycling facility from Coca Cola, the thought of a truly sustainable future doesn’t seem too far off.

Learn more at Coca-Cola Journey at www.coca-colacompany.com.

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