More than 4.8 million pieces of marine litter – the equivalent of approximately 9,600 full rubbish bags - will be removed from waterways around Auckland this year as the result of a Coca-Cola Foundation grant to local environment group Sea Cleaners.

The year-long grant, worth over $NZD300,000, has enabled the Sea Cleaners’ team to put an extra boat and crew on the water, going out five days a week and one Sunday a month during 2019 to clean up the Hauraki Gulf and Kaipara Harbour. This equates to nearly 2,000 hours of marine litter collection - with the aim of collecting 2000 – 3000 litres of litter each day.

Sea Cleaners has already collected 208,000L of rubbish this year as a result of the grant.

Sea Cleaners has already collected 208,000L of rubbish this year as a result of the grant.

Hayden Smith, Founder and Captain of Sea Cleaners says: “We’re delighted the Coca-Cola Foundation grant allows us to clean up more of our precious waterways. In addition, we’ll be engaging with local communities to increase awareness of responsible recycling in New Zealand as we know education is key to changing behaviour.”

Coca-Cola Oceania’s General Manager, Richard Schlasberg, says: “We’re thrilled the Foundation has chosen to support Sea Cleaners clean up marine litter. However we know it’s going to take more than simply picking up litter to keep New Zealand’s waterways clean.

“Our global World Without Waste vision is to help collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one we sell by 2030. That’s why we’re focused on making an impact before plastic makes it into the environment, such as increasing collection of our bottles and cans and using more recycled materials in our packaging,” he says.

Coca-Cola Oceania also recently supported the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to help bring The Pacific Summit to New Zealand - putting the circular economy on the agenda of decision makers across business, government and academia.