May 16th, 2023: Coca-Cola India and Zepto announced the expansion of their successful, first-of-its-kind collaboration in India to reinforce their commitment to plastic circularity. The ‘Return and Recycle’ initiative was launched in November 2022 as a pilot project in select locations of Mumbai. The unique initiative established an organized process of collecting PET bottles with 100% traceability, to ensure effective plastic waste management. It received an overwhelming response from consumers with over 100kgs of PET bottles collected and recycled as a part of the 60-day pilot.
Zepto and Coca-Cola’s collaboration is driving the digitization of their collection strategy by leveraging e-commerce platforms. This move towards digitization not only makes the process more efficient but also raises consumer awareness about sustainable collection models, making them a key stakeholder in the journey towards sustainability.
The initiative will now be scaled with collection bins deployed across hundreds of Zepto delivery hubs in Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, and Kolkata.
Commenting on the expansion of the initiative, Abhishek Gupta, Chief Customer Officer Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia, said, “The success of Coca-Cola’s partnership with Zepto has been characterized by strong synergies in sustainability and social responsibility. We are delighted to extend the partnership to other cities, continuing our efforts towards plastic circularity. With the ‘return and recycle’ initiative across India, we are furthering the company’s global goal of creating a world without waste.”
Coca-Cola India’s partnership with Zepto intends to create a circular economy for plastic by connecting all participants in the PET recycling value chain. Leveraging the Zepto two-wheeler distribution network, the “self-sustainable initiative” seeks to ‘collect’ empty PET bottles of any brand from consumers, which then goes to the recycler as a raw material The initiative also demonstrates Coca-Cola’s commitment towards the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission which promotes recycling as one of its core principles. It further aims to encourage its consumers to recycle PET by raising awareness on the importance of recycling and its positive impact on the environment.
Vinay Dhanani, Chief Operations Officer at Zepto, said, “This collaboration has been an exciting opportunity to demonstrate the potential of new-age e-commerce beyond business. We are proud to have built an agile and efficient last-mile network that seamlessly extends itself to innovative initiatives like this. Our aim is to constantly innovate and embed sustainable practices in all areas of operations at Zepto. Be it route optimization, EV or bicycle-led deliveries, sustainable packaging, or reducing waste, we are committed to reducing our footprint and sharing our vision with brands and the Government of India.”
Coca-Cola India and Zepto’s ‘Return and Recycle’ initiative aims to promote and build lasting sustainable behaviour and reduce the environmental impact of plastic waste through shared purpose. This programme further serves as a testimony of how joint brand collaborations can help in creating a culture of sustainability and responsible consumption.
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