Engaging for better PET recycling rates for schools in Argentina

Dec 11, 2017
Girl Helping Recycle

There has been a rise of household waste in the past ten years, in Tunuyán, small town in Mendoza province, Argentina where Nestlé Waters operates its factory to produce natural mineral water brand Eco de los Andes.

In this context, an awareness campaign was created ‘Tunuyán Verde: Transforming Plastic Bottles in a Resource’. A recycling campaign to encourage children, young people and adults to preserve its natural habitat by reducing, reusing and recycling waste. The approach was based in changing the perception that empty PET bottles are a waste, when in fact they are a resource that can be recycled into numerous new items.

This collective action was born by the initiative of the private and public sector in benefit of a common interest. The stakeholders involved in the project are the Environmental Office of the Municipality of Tunuyán, the Urban Solid Waste Plant COINCE and the factory of Eco de los Andes.

Tunuyan Verde

Transforming empty PET bottles in a resource

In 2014, the three organisations carried out a month-long recycling pilot in 33 primary schools in the area to promote the collection of PET bottles. Then the plastics were sold for recycling and the money raised was used to buy school materials. As a result, the collaboration set up a full programme the following year.

“We know that by helping to increase the PET recycling rate, we can efficiently improve the environmental performance of our products. Because of this, we actively support local initiatives to promote PET recycling” mentioned Eco de los Andes in its CSV report.

Our brand Eco de los Andes has since led the research, defined action plans, and implemented the campaign, sponsorship and communication, while the Tunuyán Municipality provides the recycling containers for collecting PET bottles from primary and secondary schools in the area.

When the containers are full, the schools call the Municipality on a toll-free number to organise the collection and replacement of the containers by the Environmental Office.

The PET is weighed and recorded at the schools, before being compacted into PET bales by the COINCE. These are then sold and the money raised buys educational materials as requested by each school.

Tunuyan Verde

Providing benefits for schools

Since the campaign was launched up to December 2016, more than 6,500kg of PET has been collected – the equivalent to over 180,000 recycled bottles.

So far, the money raised has been used to buy school items such as paper, pencils, blackboard chalk, furniture and building and cleaning materials for a number of schools in Tunuyán.

The programme continues to run during the school year from March to December.

Raising awareness to preserve natural habitat

Through our initiatives like ‘Tunuyán Verde: Transforming Plastic bottles in a Resource’ campaign, we aim to make a contribution to Argentina and raise awareness about the benefits of recycling for the environment, as part of our company’s Creating Shared Value approach to business.

This includes our ambition to shape sustainable consumption and steward resources for future generations by engaging with local stakeholders to improve recycling efficiency where we operate.

By increasing the PET recycling rate, we also continue to assess and optimise the environmental performance of our products.