The second life of Antarctic plastic
Ukrainian Antarctic station “Vernadsky” is one of the most visited places in Antarctica. It is located in the maritime Antarctic, on Galindez Island, where you can, in particular, watch whales, seals, thousands of penguins. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, about 4,000 tourists visited the station during the short Antarctic summer.
Antarctica is a huge nature reserve. It is important to avoid negative impact on wildlife not only from polar explorers but from tourists as well. The continent has strict rules for waste management: people should not leave any garbage there. At the station household waste is collected separately in several fractions: metal, PET plastic, HDPE plastic, glass, organic, etc. At Vernadsky cardboard, polyethylene and packaging (“other waste”) are compacted using a press to reduce their volume. The pressed waste is transported by ship to Chile, where it is recycled. During the year, the station produces about 50 large bags of “other waste”, each of which weighs from 20 to 50 kg.
Coca-Cola Beverages Ukraine has been implementing its sustainability commitments for many years, including waste management projects in the frame of the World Without Waste (WWW) strategy. WWW is a global initiative aimed to collect and recycle the same amount of packaging that the company produces by 2030.
From now, with the support of Coca-Cola HBC Ukraine, sorted plastic in Antarctica gets a second life and turn into souvenirs for tourists.
Since 2021 metal and glass have been transported separately in barrels and plastic bottles is pressed separately.
At Antarctic station “Vernadsky” a closed cycle of plastic recycling was created. The system includes a plastic shredder, an extruder (where plastic melts) and a number of molds for making souvenirs.
The project on the improvement of separate collection of plastic and recycling of sorted plastic directly at the station will help to reduce human footprint on the fragile Antarctic ecosystem, enhance the image of Ukrainian station, reduce waste management costs and set a good example for others.
About the project – https://youtu.be/HOzXO9l3LJ8