Mumbai: Coca-Cola India and India’s largest retailer, Reliance Retail announced the launch of a sustainability initiative titled “Bhool Na Jana, Plastic Bottle Lautana”, focused on post-consumer PET collection at Reliance Retail stores in Mumbai through Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) and collection bins. With a vision for a circular economy, this pilot project, aligned with the Government’s Swachh Bharat Mission, has commenced in 36 stores of Reliance Retail including Smart Bazaar and Sahakari Bhandar stores in Mumbai and Delhi, and will expand to 200 stores across the country by 2025 with a target of collecting 5,00,000 PET bottles annually in the pilot phase.
The initiative was launched in the presence of Kazi Irfan, Officer on Special Duty (OSD), Solid Waste Management, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), at Reliance Retail’s Smart Bazaar store in Santa Cruz.
The installed RVMs and collection bins will give consumers a convenient way to deposit used PET bottles in exchange for compelling discounts on Coca-Cola India products. The disposed PET bottles will be collected and recycled by Reliance Industries (RIL), a leader in the recycling of polyester and plastics. This initiative will facilitate smooth waste collection by engaging consumers in responsible waste management – transitioning away from a traditional linear economy.
Speaking on the launch, Damodar Mall, Chief Executive Officer, Grocery Retail, Reliance Retail Ltd, said, “Indian families have had the habit of not trashing milk pouches, plastic bottles, even newspapers, daily. We clean, collect them, and hand them over to raddiwalas, who in today’s world are the unique front-end army of recyclers. SmartBazaar, as a modern retailer continues to encourage this habit, with modern methods. Our pilot with our store shoppers, with the support of Coca-Cola India and Reliance Industries, is one such attempt we plan to pursue with our wide network of stores.”
Greishma Singh, Vice President, Customer and Commercial Leadership, Coca‑Cola India and Southwest Asia, said, “Through this partnership and platform, we are delighted that we can generate awareness and provide shoppers a convenient way to recycle their PET bottles while they are shopping at their Reliance store. Partnerships with retail, government, civic societies, and consumer-centric ideas like this one are a powerful multiplier for progress on collection, recycling, and reuse.”
Hemant D Sharma, President – Growth and Strategy, Polyester, RIL, said, “Reliance stands as a trailblazer in sustainability and circularity, leading India’s charge in transforming waste into valuable resources. Recycling two billion PET bottles annually, with a plan to scale it to five billion, RIL epitomises a commitment to sustainability that predates current trends and sets the standard for eco-friendly manufacturing. For over two decades, RIL has championed recycling post-consumer PET bottles, demonstrating a foresighted dedication to a greener, circular future.”
This initiative is a key step toward Coca-Cola’s commitment to collect and recycle the equivalent of 100 per cent of the packaging the company produces as part of its World Without Waste strategy. It will act as an anchor, retaining the sustainability momentum activated by Coca-Cola India’s ‘Return and Recycle’ initiative in collaboration with Zepto which has witnessed participation from 50,000 households in India and the successful RVM installations across 75 cities in the country, collecting one tonne of PET waste.