Coca-Cola and The Ocean Cleanup selected the Cần Thơ River in Cần Thơ City, Vietnam as one of 15 river locations around the world to tackle plastic pollution. The global partnership between the two organizations will implement advanced technology to intercept and clean up waste in some of the world’s major rivers.

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The river cleanup project is only one of many actions toward Coca-Cola’s vision for World Without Waste. The company also invested in plant-based technologies and package-less innovations to make 100% of its packaging recyclable globally by 2025. Additionally, the company plans to help collect and recycle every bottle and can it sells by 2030. 

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“This project will greatly contribute to Cần Thơ City’s goal towards an ecological and modern city, imbued with the identity of rivers and the Mekong Delta, visioning by 2030,” said Mr. Nguyễn Chí Kiên, vice director of the department of natural resources and environment of Cần Thơ City. “To get there, we are looking forward to joining hands of non-profit organizations, private sectors and Cần Thơ citizens in such environmental protection projects, maintaining our position as an ‘ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable City’ — one of the most remarkable titles that was honorably given to Cần Thơ City.”

Furthermore, Coca-Cola founded the Packaging Recovering Organization Vietnam with other leading companies, recyclers and government agencies. They work together to accelerate sustainable packaging collection and recycling processes in Vietnam.

In 2020, Coca-Cola launched its first-ever 100% recycled plastic bottle in Vietnam for its Dasani line. Last year, Coca-Cola switched Sprite from its green bottles to a clear PET plastic bottle to boost local recycling. They also put “recycle me” messages on packaging labels across their line of beverages.

It was also in 2021 that Coca-Cola partnered with The Ocean Cleanup. The Ocean Cleanup develops technologies that rid the world’s oceans of plastic. The companies are achieving their goals in two approaches. 

First, they developed large-scale systems to concentrate the plastic for periodic removal. Through DNV’s Chain of Custody Standard for Plastics, the plastic is tracked and certified for the integrity of plastic retrieved from any body of water. Secondly, they are cleaning up plastic that has already accumulated in the ocean.

To accomplish that feat, The Ocean Cleanup unveiled the Interceptor in 2019, a solar-powered robot that removes marine debris. It became the first scalable solution to prevent plastic from entering the world’s oceans from rivers.

The Interceptor was launched into the Cần Thơ River for testing in December 2021. It is expected to become fully operational over the next few months, where it will remove up to 110,231 pounds of trash per day.

“The Ocean Cleanup’s mission is to rid the oceans of plastic,” said Boyan Slat, founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup. “I am happy to see progress and our first steps together with Coca-Cola on the road to tackling the complex plastic pollution problem in the vast Mekong Delta and its sensitive ecosystems.”

Additionally, Coca-Cola and The Ocean Cleanup are working with the People’s Committee of Cần Thơ and the Cần Thơ Department of Natural Resources and Environment. They will conduct river waste research to scale up the project where appropriate.  

Via The Ocean Cleanup

Lead image via Pexels