UNILAG, NBC Join Forces for Sustainable Plastic Waste Management

In a collaborative effort, the Nigerian Bottling Company Ltd. (NBC) and University of Lagos (UNILAG) have inaugurated a Green Eco Hub project on the university campus in Lagos.

The project encompasses the establishment and operation of four drop-off centres dedicated to collecting post-consumer PET bottles for recycling.

Also, a sustainability learning centre has been set up to educate and raise awareness about recycling practices.

The NBC also provided funding for baling equipment to enhance the efficiency of PET transportation logistics.

Through this partnership, NBC and UNILAG are to promote sustainable plastic waste management by actively encouraging recycling and disseminating knowledge about the importance of environmental sustainability.

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Director at NBC, Oluwasoromidayo George, said, “Plastic waste becomes a menace to the environment when not separated and channelled for recycling. Our ‘World Without Waste’ agenda aims to help address it, as it is built under key strategic pillars of design, collect and partner, which we have been implementing across our operations. We have the strong belief that every package has value and life beyond its initial use and as such should be collected and recycled into either a new bottle or another material for beneficial use, thereby taking off the lid on one use only life span into a completely circular economy. Partnering on projects like this, is one of several ways through which we as a producer, are leading the way in driving awareness on the importance of waste separation for recycling and sustaining the creation of economic prosperity through the plastic recycling value chain.”

In her address, Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, the Director of Public Affairs, Communications, and Sustainability at Coca-Cola Nigeria, reaffirmed the Coca-Cola System’s dedication to the goal of collecting one bottle or can for each one produced by the year 2030.

This commitment, Onyemelukwe said, aligned with the World Without Waste vision, emphasizing commitment to environmental sustainability and responsible waste management.

She said, “Through our partnership with the University of Lagos on the launch of its Green Hub, we hope to further engender proper waste management practices that deepen our sustainability thrust amongst the youth demographic.We are on a journey to a World Without Waste and as we partner with like-minded organizations to advance this agenda, we are working to achieve 100 per cent collection of our packaging by 2030 with 50 per cent recycled content in our packaging by 2030.”

Professor Lucien Obinna Chukwu, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Management Services of the the university, speaking on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Folasade Ogunsola, acknowledged the parallel objectives between the Nigerian Bottling Company’s initiative to reduce plastic waste and the university’s own environmental sustainability endeavours.

He expressed appreciation for NBC’s efforts in helping to create a cleaner environment and commended their alignment with the university’s on-going commitment to sustainability.

“Today, we are glad that the University of Lagos is at the fore-front in the realm of sustainability among all other universities nationwide. I would like to begin by expressing our sincere gratitude to our esteemed partners, the Nigerian Bottling Company, and our other collaborators, who have recognized the significance of bringing this innovation to our university. This program goes beyond the goal of protecting and sustaining the environment; it specifically highlights the urgent need to manage our waste, especially plastics.

“In Nigeria, we face challenges with PET bottles which ultimately end up in our waterways and numerous dump sites across the country.

“The program aims to tackle the necessity of behaviour change and introduce innovative plastic recycling practices. Ultimately, this initiative will not only enhance our environmental sustainability by reducing our carbon footprint, but also contribute to revenue generation, fostering a circular economy,” Professor Lucien added.

The implementation of this initiative is expected to result in a 15% reduction in the University of Lagos’ carbon footprint, positively influencing over 1,000 stakeholders in terms of carbon literacy.

The four drop-off centres strategically located within the UNILAG campus, namely Amina Hall, Mariere Hall, High-rise, and DLI Bus-Stop, would facilitate the collection of post-consumer PET bottles for recycling.

Notably, a year ago, the Nigerian Bottling Company, through its parent company Coca-Cola HBC, announced a €1 million fund dedicated to supporting community empowerment and social impact programs in Nigeria.

This fund includes initiatives for community recycling. As part of this commitment, the company has already commissioned several recycling banks and PET-collection infrastructure across the country.