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Top entities partner on utilization of plastic waste

Jean Michel Pons (L) and Kirunda Magoola at the Coca-Cola plastic recycling factory

Jean Michel Pons (L) and Kirunda Magoola at the Coca-Cola plastic recycling factory

Plastic waste will be put to good use as an alternative fuel in cement production thanks to a new partnership between Coca-Cola Beverages Uganda (CCBU) and Hima Cement Limited.

In terms of the three-year partnership, which has been formalized in a memorandum of understanding, CCBU will provide Hima Cement access to plastic waste from its operations for handling and disposal through Hima’s waste management business, Geocycle.

Geocycle offers safe and sustainable waste management solutions through applying the internationally recognised technology of co-processing. The partnership is designed to end the lifestyle of PET waste collected from the environment.

CCBU will provide Hima Cement with waste from its recycling process to be used in their heating processes in the cement kiln, leaving no residue. The two companies will also collaborate in plastic waste collection, plastic waste segregation, innovations in plastics waste management and promoting awareness about plastics waste management.

While signing the MoU at Coca-Cola’s Plastic Recycling Industry in Nakawa, Kirunda Magoola, CCBU Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability director, said tackling the global plastic waste crisis requires cross-sector collaboration and alignment on common principles and targets and that is why they are working with a range of stakeholders at a regional and local level to ensure that plastic waste is managed properly.

As a beverage company whose packaging relies mainly on plastic, Magoola stressed that they have always wanted to address their sustainability and material impact on the environment through plastic waste collection and recycling and currently they recycle nine out of 10 bottles they produce.

“We are partnering with Hima to use some of our plastic waste within its manufacturing process, giving us more ability to address the plastic waste challenge within our environment and that which is being manufactured every day. This MoU gives us the ability to share any plastic waste that we are not able to recycle with Hima for them to use in their manufacturing process to terminate the life cycle of plastics without giving off any emissions while addressing their energy requirements,” he said.

Jean-Michel Pons, the Hima Cement country CEO, said as part of the company’s decarbonization and circular economy approach, they utilize materials at the end of their life cycle as alternative fuels such as industrial wastes like plastics and agricultural wastes like biomass, thus reducing the carbon intensity of cement while offering a unique solution to waste challenges.

In its Kasese factory, Hima Cement gets 60 percent of the energy it uses during manufacturing from waste material by using waste management technology known as co-processing.

“Co-processing is a waste management technology where waste is used in the cement kiln which has very high temperatures of between 900 to 1,400 degrees Celsius. The waste is burnt down completely without giving off any emissions because it is totally enclosed. It is, therefore, the safest and most sustainable and environmentally friendly way to end the life cycle of waste,” Pons said.

For the start of the partnership, the cement manufacturer will use about 20 tonnes per month of waste from Coca-Cola with hopes of utilizing up to 200 tonnes per month in the near future.

According to the National Environment Management Authority (Nema), Uganda generates 600 tonnes of plastic daily with only about 40 per cent of this collected and recycled while the rest is left in the environment.

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