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​Group urges sectoral collaboration on industrial waste recycling

The Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA) has called on various stakeholders to rise to the challenge of setting up sector specific platforms to drive the recovery and recycling of waste items in their respective packaging streams.
According to the Alliance, this will ensure the success of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policy of the Federal Government.
The call was made at the 2nd National Waste Management Conference held recently in Lagos where the FBRA was presented as a case study of how responsible and forward-looking industries in a given sector can work collectively and in collaboration with other stakeholders to develop solutions to mitigate the environmental impact of their packaging waste.
Speaking on behalf of the FBRA, Clem Ugorji, Public Affairs & Communication Director of Coca Cola West Africa, in a statement, said the organization’s mission is to recover and recycle food and beverage packaging waste and thereby create a sustainable recycling economy that will stimulate employment, innovation and wealth creation.
Ugorji said the FBRA evolved from a self-regulatory initiative that Coca-Cola began in 2005 when it worked with a private investor, Alkem Nigeria Limited, to set up a large scale recovery and buyback scheme for PET bottles which were recycled into synthetic fibre.
He said Coca-Cola’s outreach to other leading beverage companies led to the formation of a voluntary group in 2012 comprising Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited and its bottling partner, Nigerian Bottling Company Limited, Nestle Plc, Nigerian Breweries Plc and Seven-Up Bottling Company Plc, all of which became the nucleus of the FBRA which was formed in 2015 to serve as the Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) for the food and beverage sector.
“One of the great elements of the EPR policy is the requirement for sectoral collective action under the platform of a PRO. This will ensure that companies do not struggle in silos to recycle their packaging waste, as that would be overwhelming.
“Rather, they can pool resources together as a sector to develop and fund a robust buyback scheme, attract investors in recycling infrastructure and invest in research and development of eco-friendly packaging as well as alternative uses for their packaging waste” Ugorji said.
He added that the FBRA demonstrates the fact that companies can compete for market share and still cooperate effectively for social good”.
Director General of the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Dr. Lawrence C. Anukam, in a goodwill message presented on his behalf by the Lagos State Co-ordinator of NESREA, Nosa Aigbedion, underscored the importance of the EPR programme as a key element of the national strategy on waste management.
Dr. Anukam pledged NESREA’s commitment to support every sector to establish an effective EPR compliance framework, citing the FBRA as an example of a group that has taken the EPR programme seriously and made significant progress towards compliance.

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