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Coke, partners set up Kenyan recycling firm

NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 15 – Coca-Cola East and Central Africa in partnership with Coca-Cola Bottlers in Kenya, Safepak Limited and Highlands Mineral Water Company have formed a recycling company to deal with the rising challenge of plastic waste.

The formation of the PET Recycling Company (PETCO) marks the first joint venture between industry players to regulate post consumer use of plastic packaging material.

Coca-Cola country manager Peter Njonjo said on Thursday that rapid consumer preference to plastic packaging containers was creating immense pressure on the environment, prompting manufactures to take steps to mitigate pollution.

“We are seeing that this waste is creating a problem and what we want to do is bring on more industry players and make them aware of the problem plastic waste is posing,” Mr Njonjo said.

The plastic manufacturing industry has witnessed tremendous growth mainly through bottled water, laundry powder, margarine and cooking fat.

Industry estimates show that the Kenyan market currently uses 250 million plastic bottles annually with most ending up as waste with projections showing the market could be handling as much as 400 million bottles by 2015.

PETCO will work with Greenplast International, a plastic recycling company to recycle the plastic waste.

Greenplast general manager Jai Shah said the plant currently crushes 1,000 tonnes of plastic a day but anticipates the number going up to 4,000 tonnes as more players take an interest in championing the recycling of plastic.

“We anticipate that with steady industry growth, we shall be able to invest in the latest technology to enable us diversity our export markets into Europe and Asia,” Mr Shah said.

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The plant is expected to produce approximately 4,200 metric tons by 2015 mainly for export into China – the current main consumer of recycled plastics.

Mr Njonjo said the move was also geared towards creating value addition towards plastic packaging waste that could in turn be used to produce new products as well as be re-used for packaging which will lead to cutting down costs.

“If you look at developed markets, there’s active recycling programs that people engage in and there is a value to it and that is what we want to replicate here,” he said.

Highlands Mineral Water Managing Director Ashwin Padia said the industry would work closely with municipal authorities to help them achieve their landfill targets in the major towns and cities.

“We are calling on our colleagues in the industry to join us in this worthy effort to make it sustainable and in turn create job opportunities,” he said.

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