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Corporate Blog

Towards a Zero-Waste Society - The 'International Coastal Cleanup' Project in Action

January 17, 2024

Since 2007, Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan (CCBJI) and the Coca-Cola system in Japan have participated in the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC)* towards realizing the global vision of a 'World Without Waste.'

In 2023, we performed watershed cleanups at four of our plants with local governments and partner companies. 100 people supported ICC activities at watersheds near our Saitama plant. Members included Coca-Cola Japan, city officials from Yoshimi Town, and environmental NPO 'Green Bird.'

*International Coastal Cleanup is the world's largest coastal cleanup campaign, initiated by Ocean Conservancy, America's leading ocean conservation organization. Conducted globally during September-October, the campaign collects data on waste, which is then used to address global waste issues. The Coca-Cola Company is actively involved as the leading supporting partner of the ICC, carrying out activities in countries around the world.

Returning Discarded Waste to the Recycling Loop

The CCBJI Saitama bottling plant is located in the town of Yoshimi. In April 2022, CCBJI and Yoshimi signed a comprehensive cooperation agreement to work on initiatives such as 'Bottle to Bottle,' collecting used PET bottles in Yoshimi to recycle.

Under a clear Fall sky, CCBJI President Calin Dragan greeted the gathered participants.

He expressed gratitude for the cleanup opportunity. He also emphasized the relationship with Yoshimi Town following the completion of our Saitama plant in 1971.

He highlighted CCBJI's commitment to local communities. We aim for sustainable growth in both our business and Yoshimi, hence the cooperation agreement.

He mentioned our work on community revitalization projects, such as Bottle to Bottle. The cleanup is also a part of those efforts. Our aim is to enhance awareness of recycling and waste reduction, as well as contribute to the town's beautification.

In closing, he affirmed our commitment to cooperation and activities that deliver happy moments to the town's residents.

Protecting Our Environment

With the rallying cry of "Let's Enjoy Picking Up Trash!" from Green Bird, the litter-picking session kicked off. Participants formed three teams and were assigned trash collection routes.

The temperature for the day reached 24 degrees Celsius. Beneath a clear sky, employees shared moments of laughter, commenting, "It's hotter than we expected."

The colorful gloves used on the day came from upcycled clothing production fabric scraps. Upcycling transformed discarded rice grains into the garbage bags used to collect trash. Everyone worked hard to pick up trash, collecting items often overlooked.

Near roads, members found various types of litter, including PET bottles, ice cream cups, bread bags, cigarettes, and more.

Picking up trash while enjoying the scenery. Passing people stopped to look.

Trash can be found in unexpected places that are usually out of sight, such as under bushes or bridges.

Although trash sorting is necessary, each person had only one garbage bag. Natural communication unfolded, with members asking, "Does anyone have a combustible trash bag?"

A moment occurred when an illegally dumped computer was found, causing a stir among the participants.

There was also a moment when a large trailer, the 'Private Fleet' driven by colleagues from CCBJI, passed by.

Comments from participating employees included:

"We usually do regular clean-ups around the factory, so I thought it was relatively clean. However, when we all do it together, a lot of trash is found. All the members are participating and enjoying it" (Employee of CCBJI Saitama Factory).

"I was born in Saitama, and this is my third year working at this factory. Today, there are many dragonflies and butterflies flying around. This area has many rice fields, and the soil is suitable for strawberry cultivation. It's called 'Strawberry Village, Yoshimi,' a place rich in nature. I really want to preserve this environment" (Employee of CCBJI Saitama Factory).

"I thought there wouldn't be any litter since it's a clean town, but when I looked for it, I was surprised to find quite a bit. Especially, there was a lot of plastic waste from food packaging. It made me realize that there are many leaks in the recycling loop" (Employee of CCBJI Head Office).

The trash collected on this day amounted to almost 2300 liters.

We reported this data to the Ocean Conservancy, America's leading marine conservation organization and the organizer of the ICC. Our commitment is to persist in addressing global waste issues and contributing to a better society.

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