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MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE

Every week Mission Pacific’s bottle buy-back centre in Suva is visited by a wide variety of Fiji residents and businesses with very different motivations for bringing in their PET bottles.

Some of them are driven by love for the environment, says Mission Pacific Environment and Sustainability Officer, Mathew Lomaloma. Others are driven by a sense of industriousness. Some bottles come from villages where bottle collection has been tied to village health or environment initiatives.  Other individuals and businesses are driven by profit. Occasionally someone will try to play the system as well, “you’ll find some people will try and throw a brick in there.”

 “You also have the retirees who try and put a little bit of money in their pockets,” says Lomaloma. “There’s a gentleman who says he wants to fund his own funeral. It’s a bit morbid but they have their reasons, it’s different motivating factors for different people.”

Mission Pacific has been operating since 1999, although only under the current name for a couple of years. Established by Coca-Cola Amatil (its other partners are Fiji Water and Sprint,) the program now recycles more than 200 tonnes of PET bottles per annum; or about 20 per cent of bottles sent into the market annually.

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