Diageo, Unilever, The Coca Cola Company and Nestlé have joined forces to improve the collection and recycling of plastics in Africa.
The companies have jointly formed the Africa Plastics Recycling Alliance, which aims to turn the current challenge of plastic waste in sub-Saharan Africa into an opportunity to create jobs and commercial activity.
As part of the project, the companies will share knowledge, encourage innovation and collaborate on technical and other solutions appropriate for sub-Saharan Africa, as well as participate in local pilot initiatives.
They have also pledged to engage with the investment community and policymakers to accelerate the development and financing of the necessary waste management infrastructure and systems.
The alliance was announced this week at the CEO Africa Forum, a conference dedicated to the private sector in Africa.
In a joint statement, the Africa Plastics Recycling Alliance founders 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.
“Collaboration within and across markets will be key to success, so we are proud to launch the Africa Plastics Recycling Alliance today to increase those efforts and play our part as companies in finding solutions that work for Africa.”
While plastics make up less than 5% of Diageo’s total packaging materials, the company said it has been taking “firm steps” to minimise the impact of its plastics footprint.
Diageo Africa president John O’Keefe said: “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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