A week before World Clean Up Day Coca‑Cola HBC Belarus arranged a clean up initiative at Minsk Half Marathon. On September 15, 2019 BONAQUA volunteers kicked off Minsk Half Marathon with a zero waste race to keep the city clean. Thus, Coca‑Cola HBC Belarus joined international environmental campaign World Clean Up.

Every gram of weight influences the speed during the run. Even an empty bottle can become an obstacle to achieving the desired results. That’s why athletes drop bottles on the ground on their way to the finish point. The empties strewn all over the ground not only stand in runners’ way but also pollute the city. This year BONAQUA, The Coca‑Cola Company water brand & the beverage partner of Minsk Half Marathon, initiated waste collection right during the participants’ long-distance races. To keep the city clean students and professors from International Sakharov Environmental Institute of Belarusian State University, Belarusian State University Faculty of International Relations, alumni of the Coca‑Cola HBC #YouthEmpowered programme and Coca‑Cola HBC Belarus employees joined BONAQUA volunteer team.  As a result, 35 volunteers collected all the PET-bottles.

“Often after the marathons, city residents are shocked by amount of bottles scattered along the race route. Mostly plastic is concentrated on nearby pedestrian paths. Therefore, this year we’ve decided to collect every bottle and help this Minsk Half Marathon become the cleanest one. With this project, we support one of the main goals of the Coca‑Cola System - to collect and recycle the equivalent of 100% of our primary packaging by 2030”, Marina Borovko, Public Affairs and Communications Manager of Coca‑Cola HBC Belarus pointed out.

Vadim Devyatovsky, Chairman of the Belarusian Athletics Federation and representative of The National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus, emphasized the importance of collaboration with the beverage partner and special significance of the environmental campaign, “Establishing a partnership with the beverage brand is an important step in preparing for the Half Marathon. When running over long distances the body dehydrates. If the water loss is not compensated, it affects metabolic processes and leads to physical exhaustion. Therefore, it is important that each participant in the Half Marathon is provided with the necessary amount of water. That is why the organizers take the choice of a beverage partner very seriously. I also want to thank the BONAQUA volunteer team for collecting bottles during the race, I think the city residents will appreciate it”.

Volunteers aimed to draw attention to the international environmental campaign World Clean Up to which Belarus joined as a participant country. Apart from the world clean up, a republican one will be held in Belarus on October 5. Within the World Without Waste strategy, Coca‑Cola HBC Belarus conducted it together with the Ministry of Nature, the Ministry of Education and the Center for Ecology and Local Lore on September 21st, 2019.

BONAQUA volunteer team used separate bags for bottles and caps to make waste collection even more effective. All collected caps they passed on to the social and environmental project “New life in exchange for caps” supported by Coca‑Cola HBC Belarus and the plastic bottles sent to the further recycling. The residents of Minsk also have an opportunity to give a hand to “New life in exchange for caps” project: they can bring caps to the nearest “house” (a container for caps collection) installed in several shopping malls, hotels and educational institutions.

In addition to assisting in the collection of plastic bottles, Coca‑Cola HBC Belarus team  participated in the Minsk Half Marathon. The Belarusian Athletics Federation helped the team to prepare for the races. After the event they shared their emotions and first results in social media.

  • 400 km was overall distance of BonAqua team - the same distance as between Minsk and Riga

Kind avos’ka project Ambassadors also took part in the Half Marathon. This project aims at employing women with visual impairments and reduce an amount of plastic bags. Kristina Smehovch, Kind avos’ka Ambassador and participant in the Minsk Half Marathon, explained why she joined the team:

“I’m trying to support all our social projects as far as possible. I participate in the event for second time, and I’m proud that besides running I supported the project Kind avos’ka together with my colleagues. This is an excellent idea, we’ve drawn attention to the project, made people smile and I hope we’ve completed our mission”.