WWF-Pakistan in collaboration with Coca-Cola, has formally reached out to waste dealers and scavengers for the very first time, with an inclusive approach to facilitate key stakeholders in creating a ‘Pakistan Without Waste’ – a sustainable packaging vision of Coca-Cola. In this regard WWF-Pakistan is conducting a scoping study on the consumption, collection and disposal pattern of PET, and to quantify the amount of PET being recycled, while also analyzing the level of public awareness about plastic pollution. In pursuance of this study, two interactive stakeholders’ consultative workshops were held in Karachi and Lahore this week, aiming at building cohesion amongst the scavengers, junk dealers and recyclers (informal sector) and the formal sector, to identify the gaps, enhance the collection and enhance the recycling efficiency. This series of workshops will also create awareness on the issue of plastic pollution amongst the communities and educational institutes.

“Coca-Cola led the industry by announcing a bold and ambitious goal to globally recycle each and every bottle it produces by the year 2030. Although it may sound impossible right now, but we have certainly taken a step forward in the right direction by firstly acknowledging packaging waste as a problem and establishing partnerships to harvest a permanent solution for this important societal issue,” stated Rizwan Khan, General Manager, Coca-Cola Pakistan & Afghanistan Region. “These workshops will be held across 9 cities that are part of the waste assessment study to identify the loopholes in our existing policies and frameworks,” he added.

Globally 8 million tons of plastic is disposed in the oceans annually. Furthermore, Pakistan has the second largest domestic market for plastics in the Southeast Asia after India that is growing at an annual average rate of 15 percent. At the workshop, Dr. Masood, Director Climate, Energy and Water, WWF-Pakistan highlighted, “It’s crucial to start focusing on post-consumer packaging and recycling. Therefore, it’s immensely important for the companies in the public sector, private sector, formal and informal waste sector to collaborate and work together in pursuance of this aim, and the first step should be to assess the scope of our problem for which we are already holding an assessment study which shall be made public in August 2019.”

WWF-Pakistan’s project lead Nazifa Butt, extended a warm welcome to all the guests and shared her dedicated work on healthy and plastic free oceans. Speaking on the occasion, Coca-Cola’s representative, Natasha Haroon, briefed the audience about Coca-Cola’s World Without Waste Program and highlighted the Company’s global recycling practices. Research findings and role of each stakeholder was also shared amongst the participants, by WWF-Pakistan. Attendees from Karachi and Lahore workshops included representatives from academia, Lahore Waste Management Company, Sindh Solid Waste Management Board, Green Earth Recycling, Trash Masti, Gul Bahao, Olive Ridley, Go Green Welfare and some recyclers.

The session concluded on a discussion with junk dealers and scavengers to understand their concerns and establishing action items for the next step in developing relations with them. During the panel discussion, all stakeholders agreed on the point of collaboration if the resources are provided, PET supply is continuous, availability of transport is assured, their responsibilities are defined and management plan is delineated, the goals of circular economy can be met. They also discussed about innovations in PET recycling, health of scavengers impacted by garbage picking, and behavioral change with respect to source segregation aiding in increasing PET recycling. The dialogue also revolved around reducing plastics by involving all sectors, citizens as well as scavengers to engage them and lift them out of poverty.