MOPA, partners celebrate first anniversary of Plastic Reverse Logistics Project, accelerate action to tackle plastic waste

The Maldives Ocean Plastics Alliance (MOPA) and its partners on Sunday celebrated the successful completion of the first year of its Plastic Reverse Logistics Project. In a major expansion of their ambitious project to solve plastic waste pollution in Maldives, the NGO unveiled a major new initiative to collect empty PET bottles from resorts.

Launched on December 10, 2020, the Plastic Reverse Logistics Project involves a strong partnership with Happy Market Private Limited (bottlers of ‘Life’ mineralised water), Male’ Aerated Water Company Limited (bottlers of ‘Coca-Cola’ beverages) and Island Beverages Maldives (bottlers of ‘Taza’ mineralised water) who are voluntarily implementing extended producer responsibility in the Maldives.

The collected PET bottles are handed over to Parley Maldives to be recycled and upcycled into everyday items like Adidas sneakers. This national multi-stakeholder partnership project brings together numerous companies with a common vision to create a more sustainable business and a better shared future that makes a difference in people’s lives, communities and our planet.

The project initially involved regulated daily post-consumer collection of PET bottles from over 120 retail outlets, including eateries, restaurants and cafés in the Greater Male’ area. It has since expanded to cover over 263 eateries in Male’ city and its satellite town of Hulhumale’, with over 30,000 Kgs of PET bottles collected in just a year. In the second year, MOPA plans on expanding the project to cover over 300 outlets, including those in the southernmost Addu City.

“Collective action is critical in managing plastic waste responsibly and efficiently. The success of our Plastic Reverse Logistics Project is testament to why enlisting the help of customers and business partners can go a long way in effectively repurposing the growing single-use plastic waste in the Maldives,” says Thoriq Ibrahim, MOPA Founder and President.

Building on this success, MOPA and its partners are expanding the PET collection initiative to include the Maldives’ tourism industry, the mainstay of the island nation’s economy. As resorts are one of the main consumers of PET products in the country, the complementary Resort PET Collection Project aims to recover and recycle empty PET bottles from the more than 150 resorts across the archipelago.

“While we are dedicated to exploring recycling solutions wherever possible, we recognise that focusing our efforts on the Greater Male’ region is not enough. We need to push the envelope and keep increasing the number of partners we work with. We know that many resorts face challenges in recycling their PET bottles and with this initiative we aim to provide them with a win-win solution. We are resolved to explore every possible avenue that helps us manage plastic waste responsibly,” says Sanjay Maniku, Managing Director of Malé Aerated Water Company.

Commenting on the success of the partnership with MOPA, Ali Ihusaan, CEO of Happy Market Private Limited says: “As a responsible business, we care about our natural environment. While packaged drinking water has become an essential part of our daily lives, we recognise the important responsibility we have as a PET manufacturer to reduce and prevent our products from ending up in the seas. We are committed to our partnership with MOPA and be a part of the solution.”

Addressing the complicated challenge of plastic pollution requires a comprehensive approach and a well-coordinated effort. In line with this strategy, the Plastic Reverse Logistics Project and the new Resort PET Collection Project will help recover at least 150,000 Kgs of PET annually from the Maldives and promote behaviour change that will lead to a future where plastic waste is managed responsibly.

“As the Maldivian economy recovers from the unprecedented shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a need to double down our efforts to ensure that we build back better. While the crisis has highlighted the interconnectedness of our planet, the lessons we have learnt must be put to use in order for us to emerge stronger, to move toward a more sustainable and inclusive economic future,” continues Thoriq Ibrahim, MOPA Founder and President.

“Together with our partners, we hope to achieve systemic change through a circular economy. The success of the Plastic Reverse Logistics Project and our ability to expand it to resorts signal the commitment of our partners, and we are delighted to see their continued dedication to achieving a Maldives without waste.”

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