URC kicks off ‘plastic neutrality’ initiatives

Universal Robina Corp. (URC), one of the Philippines’ largest food and beverage companies, has kicked off a slew of initiatives to collect, recover and divert plastic waste as part of its overall goal to achieve plastic neutrality.

These include long-term collaborative projects on waste management that cover community engagement and linking with local recyclers.

“We are aiming to make lasting, concrete changes on an institutional level, in a way that affects all operations and demonstrates our resolve as a world-class manufacturer,” said Irwin Lee, URC’s
president and CEO.

“The culminating goal is to establish a sustainable value chain within a few year,” Lee added.

With “Juan Goal for Plastic”, URC hopes to help convert post-consumer waste into something useful, and to be an active part of consumers’ collect-and-recycle activities.

Under this program, several plastic collection sites have been set up in the country, with more to be opened within the year.

Through its La Carlota sugar mill in Negros Occidental and in partnership with the city of La Carlota, Barangay Roberto Salas Benedicto (RSB) and the Sangguniang Kabataan of Barangay RSB, URC is collecting PET bottles and other types of plastic every month.  It is exchanging plastic waste for cash, matching weight for “environmental points”.

URC’s plant in Bagong Ilog partnered with the local government of Pasig and Basic Environmental Systems and Technologies Inc. (BEST) to collect plastic twice a week in exchange for environmental points that can be used to redeem URC products or school supplies.

In General Mariano Alvarez (GMA), Cavite, URC’s plant teamed up with the local government of GMA and MENRO GMA to collect plastic every month in exchange for URC products.

Other sites include Robinsons Malls Galleria, starting July 30, to be followed by Robinsons Malls in Ermita, Las Pinas, Magnolia and Starmills Pampanga, beginning Aug. 13.

In partnership with Robinsons Land Corp.  (RLC), URC will set up plastic collection booths in these locations every payday weekend, which will offer a drop-weigh-redeem scheme for clean and dry plastic waste.

URC has also been looking at multi-stakeholder partnerships to tackle the immense plastics challenge.

It is one of the member companies of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, with URC’s chief supply chain and sustainability officer David Lim as the Alliance’s South East Asia Regional Task Group co-chair.

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