Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka Limited (CCBSL) and Uber Eats announced a unique partnership titled ‘Ride for Recycling’ to address responsible disposal of plastic waste, by enabling courier partners to collect PET plastic directly from households and restaurants in Colombo. Honouring World Environment Day and its theme in 2023 ‘Solutions to Plastic Pollution’, this one-of-a-kind partnership signifies a much-needed initiative as two prominent corporate entities unite to spearhead responsible waste disposal measures in the country.
Leveraging their growing delivery network in the Western Province, Uber Eats, will enable a streamlined collection of PET bottles directly from both households and restaurants in Colombo, effectively mobilizing a vast network of delivery partners (courier partners) to contribute to the solution. This approach helps address household-waste segregation, which is critical for effective waste management in Sri Lanka. By integrating delivery partners into the collection system, households are encouraged to actively participate in separating their PET plastic waste for recycling, thus promoting responsible waste management practices at the source. This marks the first time a delivery partner will be collecting PET plastics directly from households for recycling, demonstrating the innovative nature of this partnership.
As part of this initiative, CCBSL and Uber Eats will promote environmental responsibility by encouraging the public and restaurant partners to actively participate in combating plastic pollution and foster positive change for the environment. Members of the public are urged to collect PET plastic items frequently used in their households, such as soft drink bottles, water bottles, juice containers, handwashing and dishwashing liquid bottles and other plastic bottles labeled with the plastic identification code ‘1’. These items can be handed over to Uber Eats Courier Partners when they arrive at their doorstep to deliver the order. Restaurant partners are also encouraged to collect PET bottles and hand them to Uber Eats Courier Partners during order pickups.
To ensure hygiene and safety, Courier Partners have been provided with a separate bag designated explicitly for collecting PET bottles, ensuring no contact with the food delivered. The Courier Partners will then dispose of the collected bottles at a designated Uber collection point, where a CCBSL ‘Give Back Life’ PET plastic collection bin will be placed. Each drop-off will be carefully recorded, enabling tracking of the bottles collected by Courier Partners. Moreover, Courier Partners will also be compensated based on the number of bottles they collect, incentivizing their active participation in the initiative.
“We are excited to join forces with Uber to drive impactful solutions that collect, dispose and recycle PET plastic responsibly in Sri Lanka,” said Pradip Pandey, Managing Director, Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka. “By leveraging the extensive reach of Uber Eats and the commitment of our partners, we can engage the public and restaurant community in a collective effort to create a more sustainable future.”
“This is a call to action for the general public and restaurant partners to join us in this sustainability initiative,” stated Varun Wijewardane, General Manager of Uber Sri Lanka. “Every individual and business has a role to play in ensuring that no plastic waste ends up in landfills and water bodies. Together, we can make a significant difference and we invite everyone to be part of the solution and contribute to a cleaner, greener Sri Lanka.”
The impact of the initiative goes beyond environmental sustainability. By actively participating in this initiative, the general public and restaurant partners will be crucial in supporting Uber Eats Courier Partners to receive additional income. Post-consumed PET plastic, often considered waste, can be transformed into a valuable resource through recycling. By recognizing the value of PET plastic and contributing to its collection, the general public and restaurant partners can empower Courier Partners to earn additional income, creating a win-win situation for all stakeholders involved.
The collected PET plastic will be sent to Eco Spindles Pvt. Ltd., a leading recycling company in Sri Lanka. Eco Spindles specializes in converting PET plastic into value-added items, such as bristles for brooms and brushes and yarn for garments.
‘Ride for Recycling’ will initially be implemented in Colombo, covering North, West, South, and East regions, with a significant number of 20,000 Eaters and an excess of 300 Courier Partners expected to participate. The initiative not only aims to reduce plastic pollution in Sri Lanka but also supports the livelihoods of Courier Partners, contributes to the national economy, export earnings and aligns with Sustainable Development Goals 12, 13, and 14: Responsible Production and Consumption, Climate Action, and Life Below Water.
This initiative is part of Coca-Cola’s Give Back Life (GBL) program in Sri Lanka, with a vision to ‘Collect and Recycle a Bottle for each one sold by 2030’. GBL has established over 500 PET plastic collection points, including 21 large-scale huts capable of collecting approximately 5000kg of PET, and Material Recovery Facilities across Sri Lanka.
In 2020, Uber made a significant global commitment to transforming into a zero-emission mobility platform by 2040, with a focus on transitioning its drivers to greener alternatives, contributing to a cleaner and healthier environment for all. In line with this vision, Uber Sri Lanka has taken a pioneering step by introducing 100 electric cycles for its delivery services, becoming the first platform to implement LEV deliveries.
CCBSL and Uber are committed to driving sustainable practices and fostering a responsible production and consumption culture in Sri Lanka. We urge consumers and restaurant partners to take action and be a part of this impactful sustainability initiative. Please collect PET plastic items labeled with the plastic identification code ‘1’ and hand them over to the Uber Eats Courier Partner. Your active participation is crucial in combating plastic pollution and creating a cleaner, greener Sri Lanka.