I’m feeling inspired after spending last week in Fiji. Fiji, of course, is so beautiful that it’s always inspiring. On top of this, the team at the bottling facility is doing some fantastic work to reduce our carbon footprint and improve recycling rates in our local community. They encouraged me tremendously, so I’d like to share some of their stories with you over the next few postings.
Let’s start with recycling at the bottling facility. Paul, our Director of Production Operations & Engineering, has been hard at work over the past year and a half figuring out how to recycle manufacturing waste materials. Thanks to his efforts and those of our recycling partners in Australia, we’ve reduced by 70% the amount of manufacturing waste taken to landfills. Paul’s ultimate goal is for the FIJI Water plant to become a “zero waste” facility, meaning we will reduce, reuse, or recycle all waste.
At first Paul started with plastic and cardboard, for which there are many eager buyers already. Not content with that, however, Paul and the team persisted and found buyers for lab coats, shoe covers, hair nets, pallet strapping, bulk bags and drums, empty spools, and more. (Who knew you could recycle this kind of stuff too?)
When looking for buyers to take the recyclables, Paul simply asks that they pay enough to cover the cost of transportation. With popular materials like PET, however, he can usually get more. So he’s taken the money earned and reinvested it into the recycling infrastructure at the plant. This helps us recycle more materials and do so more efficiently. The bottling facility is now capable of recycling not only its own waste, but also recyclable materials brought in by local residents from their villages and towns. This is important because there is no other recycling infrastructure available to the local community.
In case you are wondering whether the greenhouse gas emissions from transporting recyclable materials to buyers are worth the effort to recycle, here are the numbers from our base year.
The net impact is an emissions reduction of 606 tonnes CO2eq, having thesame effect as taking 111 passenger vehicles off the road for a year or planting over 15,000 trees.
This works on an individual level too. Every time you recycle the packaging for anything you use – food and beverage, for example – you reduce its carbon footprint. Play our recycling game to learn how this works!