One of the targets set out in our sustainability strategy, Prosper, is to reduce our packaging carbon footprint by 25% by 2020, significantly cutting the amount of new plastic bottles manufactured globally.

We are working closely with partner suppliers to educate them about the benefits of using bottles made from waste plastic that until now has been sent to landfill sites.

For instance, it takes 60% less energy to produce rPET – plastic made from recycled bottles – than virgin plastic, which is created from crude oil. Furthermore, recycling a tonne of PET containers saves 5.7 cubic metres of landfill space.

By increasing the amount of rPET in our plastic containers by just 10%, we can reduce CO2 emissions by more than 5%.

Our Peruvian business is one of the first to embrace the recycling opportunity fully.

By January 2017, rPET from bottles collected in Peru will make up 18% of the plastic used to package our products – from a standing start of none two years ago.

Rudi Verpoorten, SABMiller Procurement Category Manager for Plastics, says the use of recycled plastics goes beyond reducing our carbon footprint.

“Promoting rPET plays a key role in helping us achieve our ambition for a clean world and reduce packaging carbon emissions.

“We are working with suppliers to ensure rPET is competitive against virgin plastic and to develop the benefits for business, as well as the environment,” he says.

“Furthermore, there is also a positive impact on local communities, as recycling facilities create job opportunities.”

Advanced recycling operations are planned across Latin America, with the combined waste reduction in Honduras, El Salvador and Peru estimated to be 40,000 tonnes.

Similarly, in Columbia, we are working with our supplier San Miguel Industrias PET (SMI) to reduce recyclable landfill waste by 20,000 tonnes.

“Early last year, SABMiller raised its concerns about the lack of amber PET bottle recycling in Colombia, and the need for a reliable local rPET supplier,” says Juan Alberto Franco, Chairman of SMI.

“Within nine months, we were efficiently producing rPET from recycled amber PET bottles. This effort highlights SABMiller´s commitment to local communities and a prudent use of natural resources.”

In South Africa, we have also started building a recycling plant to serve our soft drink requirements, to ensure the rPET produced meets international standards.

Work started in May 2016, and the new facility will save around 180,000 cubic metres of landfill space every year – equal to 75 Olympic-sized swimming pools – while also creating an estimated 1,000 jobs in plastic collection and rPET production.

Since 2010, we have reduced our packaging carbon footprint by 19%. It is a long journey to reach our 25% goal, but one we are committed to achieving.

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