FBRA urges sectoral partnership to advance industrial waste recycling

The Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA) has called on stakeholders in different industries to help set up sector specific alliances to assist with the recovery and recycling of waste items in their respective packaging streams.

According to FBRA, it will ensure the success of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policy of the Federal Government.

Speaking at the 2nd annual National Waste Management Conference in Lagos recently, where FBRA was used as a case study of how responsible and forward-looking industries in a given sector can work together and in partnership with other stakeholders to develop solutions to reduce the environmental impact of their packaging waste, Clem Ugorji, Public Affairs & Communication Director, Coca-Cola West Africa said, the organisation’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 that FBRA started off as a self-regulatory initiative that Coca-Cola began in 2005 when it partnered with a private investor, Alkem Nigeria Limited, to set-up a large scale recovery and buy-back scheme for PET bottles which were recycled into synthetic fibre.

He said that Coca-Cola eventually reached out to other leading beverage companies in the country leading to the formation of a voluntary group in 2012, which includes the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC), Nestle Nigeria Plc, Nigerian Breweries Plc and Seven-Up Bottling Company Plc, all of which became the nucleus of the FBRA that was formed in 2015 to serve as the Producer Responsibility Organisation (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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