The Maldives Ocean Plastics Alliance (MOPA) and its partners have ended 2021 with an impressive achievement of 49 tonnes of PET collection through two of the NGO’s flagship projects aimed at solving plastic waste pollution in Maldives and creating a circular economy for plastic.
Launched on December 10, 2020, the Plastic Reverse Logistics Project involves a strong partnership with Happy Market Private Limited (bottlers of ‘Life’ mineralised water), Male’ Aerated Water Company Limited (bottlers of ‘Coca-Cola’ beverages) and Island Beverages Maldives (bottlers of ‘Taza’ mineralised water) who are voluntarily implementing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in the Maldives to give a new life to the 100% recyclable and versatile PET.
The project began with daily collection of used PET bottles – all 100% recyclable and has inherent value to the Maldives’ economy – from over 120 retail outlets, including eateries, restaurants and cafés in the Greater Male’ area. It now includes 263 eateries in Male’ city and its satellite town of Hulhumale’. A second initiative, Island PET Collection Project, has expanded collection to outer atolls, with active operations now in three islands.
Under the Plastic Reverse Logistics Project, MOPA collected 33 tonnes while Male’ Aerated Water Company Limited collected 30 tonnes in 2021. The Island PET Collection Project saw both MOPA and Male’ Aerated Water Company Limited collect 16 tonnes of PET each last year.
“As we mark a year into the launch of plastic recycling initiatives, I am delighted to see a strong collaborative approach and effort by all of our partners. Collecting close to 100 tonnes of PET in a year, especially in a geographically dispersed country like the Maldives, is no small feat, and I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all our of partners for their support,” says Thoriq Ibrahim, MOPA Founder and President.
“There is no doubt that collective action is the only way forward to tackle our waste management challenges. As the only national environmental NGO alliance in Maldives, we are committed to pooling resources, forging partnerships, engaging stakeholders and empowering communities to safely repurpose single use plastics in Maldives.”
The collected PET bottles – the most widely recycled plastic in the world – are handed over to Parley Maldives to be recycled and upcycled into everyday items like branded footwear, swimwear and garments. This national multi-stakeholder partnership project brings together numerous companies with a common vision to create a circular economy for plastic and a better shared future that makes a difference in people’s lives, communities and our planet.
“Creating a circular economy is vital to effectively address plastic pollution. As Coca-Cola’s bottling partner in Maldives, we are serious about our responsibility to innovate toward new packaging and cycle all of the packaging we use within the economy rather than the environment,” says Sanjay Maniku, Managing Director of Malé Aerated Water Company.
“MOPA has established a dedicated, ongoing and sufficient mechanism that aligns with our aim of a world free from waste. We are pleased to continue working with MOPA to prevent our packaging from ending up in the environment and to effectively repurpose the growing single-use plastic waste in the Maldives.”
MOPA has recently announced a third initiative to accelerate action to tackle plastic waste. The complementary Resort PET Collection Project, which was launched in December 2021, aims to recover and recycle empty PET bottles from the more than 150 resorts across the archipelago, further expanding the initiatives to reduce our reliance on new plastic and ensuring bottles don’t enter the oceans.
Addressing the complicated challenge of plastic pollution requires a comprehensive approach and a well-coordinated effort around a circular economy approach. In line with this strategy, the Plastic Reverse Logistics Project, the Island PET Collection Project, and the recently-launched Resort PET Collection Project will help to ramp up PET collection in Maldives and achieve an annual target of 100 tonnes in 2022 and 150 tonnes in 2023 from the Maldives and promote behaviour change that will lead to a future where plastic waste is managed responsibly.