Diageo, Unilever, Coca Cola and Nestlé pledge to clean up plastic in Africa

Diageo, Unilever, Coca Cola and Nestlé have launched a scheme to rid Africa of plastic waste.

The Africa Plastics Recycling Alliance, which was announced by the international consumer goods companies at the CEO Africa Forum in Kigali, sets out to improve the collection and recycling of plastic waste and in doing so, create jobs and provide a boost to businesses.

It will see the companies, which are each responsible for a significant volume of plastic packaging being produced each year, work to help their local subsidiaries engage in public-private partnerships to reduce litter.

This Alliance aims to turn the current challenge of plastic waste in Sub-Saharan Africa into an opportunity to create jobs and commercial activity by improving the collection and recycling of plastics.

The Africa Plastics Recycling Alliance has been established for companies to:

  • Facilitate and support their local subsidiaries to engage proactively in market level public private partnerships, industry collaboration and alliances;
  • Share knowledge, encourage innovation and collaborate on technical and other solutions appropriate for Sub-Saharan Africa as well as participate in local pilot initiatives;
  • Engage with the investment community, policy makers and others to accelerate the development and financing of the necessary waste management infrastructure and systems.

The firms say they will share knowledge, encourage innovation and collaborate on developing innovative solutions to stop bottles, wrappers and other packaging entering the environment and damaging wildlife.

They will also engage with the investment community, policy makers and other groups to accelerate the financing and implementation of the waste management infrastructure and systems that will need to be put in place.

A statement released by the group of businesses 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 used packaging does not end up as litter.

“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.”

John O’Keefe , President of Diageo Africa added: “Plastics are important to the future of Africa and in Diageo Africa we have plastic packaging alongside our glass and can formats to meet consumer needs in different markets. We have adopted a proactive approach to establish new, and leverage existing, multi-stakeholder partnerships which support the collection, processing, reuse and recycling of plastics and stimulate the market for recycled plastics. This new Alliance represents the next, important stage of this to accelerate and scale-up our localised in country recycling efforts.”

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