The Coca-Cola Company and The Ocean Cleanup participate in Vietnam’s plastic pollution prevention

January 11, 2022 | 09:00
Coca-Cola Vietnam and The Ocean Cleanup officially announced that Can Tho River has been selected as one of the 15 locations around the globe to be cleaned up by advanced technology stemming the tide of plastic pollution that is invading the oceans.

Using solar-powered technology, The Ocean Cleanup’s Interceptor™ river cleanup solution is a robot that removes marine debris. In 2021, The Coca-Cola Company became a global implementation partner with the Interceptor™, which was originally unveiled in 2019 as the first solution to provide a scalable innovation preventing waste from entering the oceans. Additionally, this partnership also aims to create community awareness about environmental issues.

The Interceptor™, groundbreaking invention extracting up to 50,000kg trash daily

After years of planning, the test version of the Interceptor™, known as 003 or René, was launched into the Can Tho river last month. It is expected to become fully operational over the next few months, promising to be capable of extracting up to 50,000kg of trash daily.

The InterceptorTM took the first shot in a series of environmental partnership activities between The Coca-Cola Company and The Ocean Cleanup
The InterceptorTM took the first shot in a series of environmental partnership activities between The Coca-Cola Company and The Ocean Cleanup

The river cleanup project in Vietnam was made possible by the support from Can Tho People's Committee and Can Tho Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DoNRE). Along with cleaning up rivers, the partnership has also worked with the DoNRE and local operators to conduct river waste research to scale up the project where appropriate.

Interceptor 003 was launched into the Can Tho river last month
Interceptor 003 was launched into the Can Tho River last month

“We expect that this river cleanup project will make an important contribution to help the city improve the capacity and efficiency in waste collection, segregation, and treatment. At the same time, it will prevent and thoroughly collect waste, especially plastic waste, floating on some major river routes in Can Tho city,” said Nguyễn Chí Kiên, vice director of the DoNRE. “At the same time, the project will greatly contribute to Can Tho’s goal towards an ecological and modern city, imbued with the identity of rivers and the Mekong Delta. To get there, we are looking forward to joining hands with non-profit organisations, the private sector, and Can Tho’s citizens in environmental protection projects, maintaining our position as an ‘ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable City’ – one of the most remarkable titles that were honourably given to Can Tho.”

Collecting and recycling all Coca-Cola bottles and cans – an international goal by 2030

Furthermore, Coca-Cola in Vietnam will advocate the development of waste management for collected debris and provide local support to The Ocean Cleanup such as through strong communication with local stakeholders.

“The Ocean Cleanup’s mission is to rid the oceans of plastic,” said Boyan Slat, founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup. "I am happy to see progress and our first steps together with Coca-Cola on the road to tackling the complex plastic pollution problem in the vast Mekong Delta and its sensitive ecosystems. This is good news for the oceans."

In Vietnam, Coca-Cola has helped support and drive local relevant collection and recycling solutions. Coca-Cola Vietnam was one of the founding members of Packaging Recycling Organization Vietnam, a partnership with other leading companies, recyclers and government agencies to accelerate local packaging collection and recycling in support of a clean and green Vietnam.

The Coca-Cola Company and The Ocean Cleanup participate in Vietnam’s plastic pollution prevention
Workers of CASHIN Yard where the Interceptor was assembled

“Currently, our packaging is among the waste that can be found in the ocean. This is unacceptable to us. We want to support partners and technologies that help clean up our oceans and rivers, especially the Mekong river system – one of the critical river systems in ASEAN that flows to the oceans,” said Leonardo Garcia, general manager, Coca-Cola Vietnam and Cambodia. “Through innovation and partnerships, we’re also working to create circular solutions for the collection and recycling of our bottles in Vietnam. That’s why we’re very excited about this new partnership with The Ocean Cleanup, and we’re looking forward to making a lasting impact through this work.”

As part of its World Without Waste vision, The Coca-Cola Company is trying to ensure that all of the material used in its packaging is collected and recycled. Moreover, The Coca-Cola Company’s global goal is to help collect and recycle every bottle that has been sold by 2030.

Hence, the company is working on reducing virgin packaging materials and using only fully recyclable materials. Ultimately, the company wants to bring people together to support a healthy, debris-free environment and ensure none of our packaging ends up where it does not belong.

By Kim Hang

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