No corporate social responsibility for plastic litter

Oct 24th, 2011 | By | Category: Adaptation, Bhutan, Development and Climate Change, Ecosystem Functions, Government Policies, Health and Climate Change, Land, Learning, News, Pollution, Sanitation, Urbanization, Vulnerability, Waste, Wetlands

Kuenselonline: The Big Four ought to do their bit to reduce the waste created from consuming their products.

Cold Drinks Companies It is a very common sight to find disposed plastic bottles littering an area almost anywhere in Bhutan. The most common brands on these disposed plastic bottles belong to four major companies of Bhutan Agro, Coca Cola, Army Welfare Project and Pepsi.

While inculcating a more responsible waste disposal mindset among Bhutanese consumers is still a work in progress, all four companies are involved in recycling plastic bottles.

It is mostly limited to within company premises, as part of an environmental clearance required prior to obtaining their business license.

Of the four companies, only Tashi Beverages, which produces the Coca Cola line of soft drinks, had a concrete plan to engage in recycling efforts outside its premises.

According to Tashi Beverages’ Tshenchok Thinlay, the company is looking for a recycling company in Paro to donate a recycling machine.

Outside their premises, the companies have no legal obligation to contribute to the recycling effort, according to National Environment Commission (NEC) officials.

Bhutan Agro pointed out that the company would be open to discussions with private recycling companies on areas of collaboration, but made no “firm commitments.”

Army Welfare Project (AWP) officials said, since most of their plastic bottles were imported and then re-exported to India, they had no concrete plans to expand their recycling efforts outside their premises.

Drangchu Beverages, which produces the Pepsi line of products, also pointed out that most of their soft drinks are bottled in glass.

Both AWP and Drangchu pointed out that they would engage in more recycling efforts outside their premises, if their own production of plastic bottles increase.

Royal Society for the Protection of Nature (RSPN) program officer, Kinga Wangdi, said that the NGO would like to see big companies like Coca Cola and Pepsi become more responsible for reducing waste in Bhutan. “It’ll be good if they can introduce such initiatives, or if they can support these individuals, who help to reduce waste,” he said, referring to private recycling companies.

Proprietor of Greener Way, Karma Yonten, said that the recycler is currently facing problems with plastic bottle collection. He said the recycling company collects about 300kg of plastic bottles a day. One kilogram equals about 42 bottles. He said the most bottles come from Bhutan Agro, then Coca Cola, and lastly, AWP.

He said the number of plastic bottles collected could be far higher. He said if assistance, in the form of helping private recyclers increases, this bottle collection capacity could be a start.

He also said that companies using plastic bottles to hold their products could also try implementing deposit schemes, similar to those practised abroad. A deposit scheme is where the buyer pays a small amount extra, when a plastic bottle is purchased, but receives that amount back when the empty bottle is returned to the distributor or company.

Karma Yonten said that he had received minimal assistance from any of the companies so far. He said that, while consumer awareness on waste management has increased of late, there was still a long way to go.

By Gyalsten K Dorji               Source>>


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One Comment to “No corporate social responsibility for plastic litter”

  1. Jed Emerson says:

    Thanks very much for posting this! I’ve been concerned by the level of litter and plastic waste throughout the gorgeous country-side of Bhutan on my trips there. This piece was very helpful in bringing us up to speed on the current state of the situation. Thanks!

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