Recognizing the need for a holistic solution to tackle the growing concern on managing plastic waste in the country, leading corporates — Cargills and Unilever Sri Lanka — have joined hands to establish a sustainable plastic waste management system across nine Cargills Food City outlets in Colombo.
Utilizing the diverse network of resources and expertise of both companies, this holistic system will cover collection, distribution, segregation, and recycling of plastic waste.
The companies hope to extend this initiative to other outlets across Sri Lanka. The initiative forms part of Unilever Sri Lanka’s purpose-led agenda to reduce its environmental impact by responsibly managing its plastic footprint, and further aligns with Cargills’ vision towards building a sustainable environment for Sri Lanka
A demarcated plastic drop-off point will be installed at each location, with the option of disposing either hard plastics (bottles, tubs, cups) or flexible plastics (shopping bags, wrappers) at the customers’ convenience. The collected plastic waste will be picked up and transported to a collection hub for further segregation. Following this, all recyclable plastic waste will then be dispatched to recycling centers while the non-recyclable plastic waste will be sent to waste-to-energy recovery centers. This end-to-end process will be closely monitored to ensure that plastic waste is safely disposed in an environment-friendly manner.
Asoka Pieris, Managing Director – Cargills Food Company said, “Given the widespread visibility and presence of Cargills Food City outlets in the country, this project will significantly reduce the damaging effects of plastic waste. We further hope that this initiative will raise awareness and instill plastic recycling as a consumer habit, making progress towards a sustainable future.”
“We are excited to partner with Cargills to make a positive impact on the environment. Reducing plastic waste is a global and national need and has always been a top priority for Unilever. While we believe that plastic must be used responsibly, as it is often the most safe and efficient way to get our products across to consumers, it should not happen at the expense of the environment. This is why we have come forward with Cargills to introduce our new waste management system which is one of many Unilever initiatives that are in place to protect and conserve our planet,” Aruna Mawilmada, Customer Development Director – Unilever Sri Lanka, said.
Unilever has globally committed to make 100% of its plastic packaging reusable, recyclable, or compostable; halve the amount of virgin plastic it uses in its packaging; and help collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells, by 2025.
The nine Cargills Food City outlets include the Pelawatta, Mount Lavinia (STC), Rajagiriya, Kandana, Wattala, Maharagama, Katubedda, Kollupitiya and Bloemendhal outlets, together with the KFC restaurant located in Marine Drive.
The official launch event took place on the 23rd of April at the Cargills Food City Pelawatta outlet. To commemorate the initiative, coupons for a free eco-friendly bag will be handed out to customers at the collection bins for an entire week from the launch date.