URC kicks off plastic recycling initiative

FOOD and beverage conglomerate Universal Robina Corp. (URC) has started initiatives to collect and recycle plastic waste as part of its overall goal to achieve plastic neutrality.

“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,” URC President and Chief Executive Officer Irwin Lee said.

With its “Juan Goal for Plastic” initiative, the company hopes to help convert post-consumer waste into something useful. Under this program, several plastic collection sites have been set up in the country, with more to be opened within the year.

Three sites have already begun operations at URC’s sugar mill in La Carlota, URC’s plant in Bagong Ilog and URC’s plant in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite, and are exchanging plastic waste for cash and matching weight for environmental points which can be used to redeem URC products or school supplies. Other sites in the program are Robinsons Malls in Ermita, Las Piñas and Magnolia in Metro Manila, and Robinsons Starmills Pampanga beginning Aug. 13, 2022.

In partnership with Robinsons Land Corp., URC will set up plastic collection booths at the residential/commercial developments every payday weekend, which will offer a drop-weigh-redeem scheme for clean and dry plastic waste.

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“With our current systems, plastic waste will be segregated and given new life that supports a true circular economy,” Lee said.

The company has also been looking at multi-stakeholder partnerships to tackle the immense plastics challenge as it is one of the member companies of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste and an investor and strategic partner of Planet First.

“Our ambition to become a sustainable global enterprise has been steadfast and resolute amid lingering challenges, and the steady reopening of economies,” Lee explained. “The plans that we have set in motion are bringing us closer to our goals.”

Aside from its plastic waste initiatives, URC will also continue to carry out its sustainability strategies in its six focus areas — people and communities, climate action, water, product, packaging and sourcing.