Coca-Cola inks pact with Siargao towns to fight beach waste
Coca-Cola Philippines is taking its World Without Waste vision to the shores of the island of Siargao through a partnership with the local government in championing sustainable tourism and environmental protection of the island.
In recent years, Siargao has faced a major boom in tourism, dubbed as the country’s surfing capital and one of the most beautiful destinations in the Philippines because of its perfect waves and pristine beaches. However, along with the spike in visitor arrivals arises a need for the development of an improved waste management system for the island.
Hence, Coca-Cola Philippines collaborated with the nine municipalities on the island of Siargao, with the support of Rep. Bingo Matugas and the provincial government of Surigao del Norte headed by Gov. Francisco “Lalo” Matugas, to preserve a litter-free island and promote sustainable tourism.
“We are firm in our World Without Waste goal of collecting and recycling every single bottle or can we sell, because it is unacceptable for us that our packaging ends up littering places like the shores of Siargao,” shared Atty. Juan Lorenzo Tañada, Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines Inc. Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Director.
“This is why we are working very closely with local government, and also hopefully with local NGOs, to assist with the environmental conservation and sustainability efforts and strengthen recyclable PET plastic bottle collection in the island,” he added.
Coca-Cola aims to advocate responsible travel and proper packaging waste management among tourists and locals by helping strengthen the recyclable PET plastic bottle collection in the island.
To start, Coca-Cola deployed recyclable PET plastic bottle collection bins in Cloud 9 area – Siargao’s prime surfing spot. With the help of the local government, recyclable PET plastic bottles deposited into the bins will be properly turned over to the LGU’s local recycling partner.
Tables and benches made from recycled PET plastic bottles will also be installed in the area— a visual representation of what the recyclable PET plastic bottles can be when they are properly disposed of, refreshed and given new lives.
Tañada adds: “We are also launching the #betterbottlechallenge, we want to illustrate and emphasize that used recyclable PET plastic bottles should not end up littering the streets, the beaches, or in landfills, or polluting our waterways. They have value beyond their initial use, if we properly dispose of them. In this case, place them into our collection bins so they become better bottles, as they are recycled.”
Coca-Cola will also be providing the island with a state-of-the-art surf rake. Manufactured in the USA by H. Barber and Sons, the tractor-towed beach-cleaner is one of the best in the world, ensuring the safe, quick, and efficient clearing of Siargao’s beaches.
“These mark the beginning of Coca-Cola’s environmental partnership with the island of Siargao — and they are looking forward to working more closely with all stakeholders in the island— with our local government units in the island, and local organizations to come up with the best possible system that will work in the island to make sure that we properly divert our recyclables such as PET plastic bottles, and they do not end up polluting the island,” Rep. Bingo Matugas shared.
Tañada, Mayor Cecilia Rusillon of General Luna town in Siargao, and Rep. Matugas of the 1st district of Surigao del Norte made their partnership official through a commitment wall signing at Cloud 9.
“We believe that sustainability, tourism, and business can go hand-in-hand when all parties from the private sector like Coca-Cola, us – your local public servants, and equally-passionate organizations and individuals work together toward a common vision,” Rusillon said.
“We all want to live in a World Without Waste, and I hope that that is a shared end goal that we can all help contribute towards reaching,” the mayor added.
In the last couple of years, Coca-Cola has been partnering with different local government units, and NGOs on several pilot plastic collection and recycling programs. The company has reached 12 provinces so far—and they are looking for more partners to reach more communities.
One good example is their collection program with sari-sari stores where the nanays collect plastic packaging and use it as “credit points” for an eco-brick recycling facility. The Company is hoping to do something similar in the island of Siargao.
In Davao, the Company is also helping boost the recyclable PET plastic bottle collection system in the city with the deployment of PET bottle collection bins across the city’s parks and their partnership with local recycler, Winder Recycling, in creating recycled items like plastic school chairs from the collected bottles.
After the rehabilitation of Boracay, Coca-Cola also came to the aid of community with the same top-of-the-line Surf Rake that would maintain the cleanliness of Boracay and Baler’s world-famous beaches.
The Philippines abounds with ecological wonders and beautiful destinations like Siargao, Boracay, Davao, and many more across its 7,000 islands.
With this in mind, Coca-Cola aims to safeguard the country’s rich, natural landscapes and create a World Without Waste, one island, one city, and one community at a time.