Opening ceremony of the Biyagama PET plastic Collection Centre with Mr. U.V Padmakumarasiri – Honorary Member of the Council, Biyagama Pradeshiya Sabha, Mr. G.A.A.C Ganepola – Chairman, Biyagama Pradeshiya Sabha, Mr. Palitha Nanayakkara - Commissioner of Local Governments, Western Province, Ms. Chandrani Samarakoon - Secretary, Ministry of Local Governments, Western Province and Mr. Lakshan Madurasinghe – Director, Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability, Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka Ltd.
In line with World Environment Day 2019 Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka Ltd. (CCBSL), through funding received by The Coca-Cola Foundation, launched its first ‘Give Back Life’ PET plastic Collection Centre in Delgoda, within the Biyagama Pradeshiya Sabha. With this project ‘Give Back Life’ intensifies its efforts to promote and inculcate the sustainable habit of recycling PET plastic amongst communities, and thereby enables the Biyagama town to have all their PET plastic collected for recycling.
Polyethylene terephthalate, commonly abbreviated as PET or PETE, is any plastic with the number ‘1’ in the recycling logo on the package. It’s commonly used for water, cooking oil, dish wash, shampoo bottles, other beauty and personal care products and biscuit trays. 10 ‘Give Back Life’ PET plastic collection bins have also been strategically placed in the Biyagama town for people to use during their day-to-day life. This project is part of an overarching initiative to have 4 PET plastic Collection Centres set across the North, South, East and West of Sri Lanka to enhance Sri Lanka’s PET plastic recycling efforts.
Ms. Dhammika Wijeyasinghe – Director, Environment Pollution Control & Chemical Management, Ministry of Maheweli Development and Environment addressing the gathering said: “Irresponsible disposal of plastic is causing pollution on land and in the oceans, posing a threat to flora and fauna in Sri Lanka. This project by Coca-Cola is a much needed one and we are pleased with this unique community-based initiative which will help the public get involved in recycling. Not only will this project by Coca-Cola and its partners add to people’s incomes but will ensure a cleaner environment for all. All of us as Sri Lankans need to commit to make this change to collect and handover for recycling, all PET plastic.”
Mr. G.A.A.C Ganepola - Chairman, Biyagama Pradeshiya Sabha said., “We are grateful to Coca-Cola and its partners for choosing to establish a PET plastic collection centre first in our municipality. This enhances our efforts to collect and dispose waste in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. This Centre will support our efforts and encourage our electorate to collect PET plastic and bring it for recycling. By helping us to collect more PET plastic, Coca-Cola is supporting and driving new opportunities for our Pradeshiya Sabha staff members, particularly our Environmental Committee, Public Health Inspectors and Sanitary Workers.”
The project will enhance the capacity of the Biyagama Pradeshiya Sabha to collect more PET plastic more efficiently. The selling of the PET plastic on a per KG basis provides a sustainable and additional channel of income generation for the Society of Sanitary Workers under the Biyagama Pradeshiya Sabha who will manage this project. All the collected PET plastic will be recycled by Eco Spindles Pvt Ltd, to make brooms and brushes or create yarn for use in clothing and shoes.
Establishing a Society for Biyagama’s sanitary workers contributes to added social security and dignity of labour. They remain the key custodian of the project, under the Public Health Inspector’s guidance, to continue the important labour carried out in managing waste to keep the environment clean. The Biyagama Pradeshiya Sabha and the Society of Biyagama’s Sanitary Workers were trained on the environmental, health and social benefits of plastics recycling with the support of Eco Spindles and Environmental Foundation Ltd. This model in partnership with the Asia Foundation will be duplicated across the other selected Local Government Authorities in the North, South and East of Sri Lanka.
Mr. Lakshan Madurasinghe - Director of Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability, Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka Ltd. commented, “We are privileged to be able to facilitate such an important project for PET plastic recycling at our home base in Biyagama. The Give Back Life program is committed to collecting and recycling PET plastics in Sri Lanka. PET plastic is 100% recyclable. Post-consumer PET plastic has inherent value and recycling of PET plastic leads to the creation of jobs, provides additional sources of income & revenue and ultimately leads to a cleaner environment for all.”
The Coca-Cola Company in January 2018 made a pledge and commitment to the world, that by 2030, Coca-Cola would collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle or can that is produced. Globally, Coca-Cola is working with many partners to achieve its target of a ‘World Without Waste’. In Sri Lanka, Coca-Cola is achieving this through it’s ‘Give Back Life’ campaign for PET packaging with the support of its partners across Local Governments, NGOs, civil society groups, youth organisations and its valued customers.