For the players, it looked to be just another tough contest during the Indian Premier League (IPL). The spectators were there by the thousands, as they make a beeline to the stadium to watch their favourite stars in action.

While the teams were battling it out on the pitch, another team was quietly raising the pitch for recycling at some of the grounds. A team from a group of companies were making sure that the waste generated at the cricket stadium was recycled and disposed away responsibly. At the end of the exercise, the net run rate for the effort was certainly in the positive!

The spectators were being encouraged to segregate waste into wet and dry bins, kept at key places across the stadium. They were also being explained the importance of segregation so that a change in their habits could be encouraged.

On an average, nearly 100 grams of waste is generated per spectator at the cricket stadium. With nearly 40,000 people watching a match, on an average, 4-5 tonnes of waste is generated for every match. So, the scale of the recycling effort had to be huge to make sure nothing was left to chance.

During the match, spectators were also reminded of their duty not to litter and leave behind trash that can be taken back from the ground. The message on the giant screen at key moments on the match was driving the message home. Players also used to opportunity to take the message to their own fans.

It is no mean task to get the spectators, enjoying watching their favourite icons at their feisty best, to do even better. With the kind of products that are consumed and used during the matches, it is a challenge to recycle them. Of the 60 matches, 12 saw the effort led by Coca-Cola in partnership with Ramky Enviro Engineers and others in Delhi and Hyderabad. The effort was supported by players from Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Daredevils, the two teams that were in the thick of sporting action.

“It was the second time that we had partnered with Coca-Cola for the all-important effort to recycle the waste from the playing arena. The first time was during the FIFA U17 World Cup last year,” says Hanumant Saraf, Head-Recycling at Ramky Enviro Engineers. 

At the end of the match, after the waste has been segregated, it was taken away for recycling. Since the recycling team has been trained, even if some waste was left in the seating arena, they ensured that it was put in the right bin.

“Coca-Cola has made a global commitment and we are calling it World Without Waste. All our recycling initiatives are now part of the worldwide commitment on the issue,” says Atul Rajbhushan, Senior Manager Public Affairs at Coca-Cola India. 

Coca-Cola has had recycling programmes at different parts of the country with different communities. In Pune, the company is encouraging waste segregation and is putting up a recycling plant near Pirangut. The Support My School (SMS) programme, which works to improve the infrastructure in government schools across India, is working on the Mission Recycling initiative. The programme will highlight the importance of recycling among school children and will reach out to 5000 schools across India.

Ahead of World Environment Day, Coca-Cola supported the community effort, led by lawyer Afroz Shah, to clean litter from under the surface of the water on around Versova Beach in Mumbai.