The bench has been installed in Alamillo Park as a token of appreciation to the volunteers – including those from Forever Green – in the province of Seville for their participation in Mares Circulares, collecting 2,281.93 kg of garbage from aquatic environments in 2022.

Mares Circulares, Coca-Cola’s most ambitious project for coastal and seabed cleaning, citizen awareness, and the development of the circular economy in Spain and Portugal, delivers in Seville one of the 18 benches that Mares Circulares, together with the Vertidos Cero Association, is manufacturing with 100% recycled plastic, of which at least 30% comes from marine litter collected from the seabed by more than 500 fishermen participating in the project. An example of a circular economy thanks to Mares Circulares’ commitment to scientific innovation.

The installation of the Coca-Cola Mares Circulares bench in Seville is a gesture of gratitude to citizens and local entities who voluntarily participated in clean-ups organized in the surroundings of the Guadalquivir River, actions in which Forever Green volunteers have participated in repeated editions.

Present at the bench unveiling were Susana Cayuelas, Territorial Delegate of Development in Seville, and Rafael Carmona, President of the Port of Seville, along with entities and associations that have collaborated as volunteers in clean-ups in previous years, such as: Sevilla FC, Real Betis Balompie, School of Hospitality in Seville, Proyecto Hombre, Grupo Serenísima, Hotel Kivir, and ESIC.

In total, 18 benches are being handmade with between 30% and 50% non-PET plastic. This material originates from marine debris collected from the sea thanks to the efforts of more than 500 fishermen from 104 boats in fifteen Spanish ports.

“With this project, Coca-Cola reaffirms its commitment to research and innovation to find solutions to the problem of marine litter,” says Manuela Carretero, representative of Coca-Cola Europacific Partners in Seville. “The creation of this bench represents a breakthrough in innovation applied to the circular economy that characterizes Mares Circulares. A milestone that joins the achievement already obtained in previous editions of reusing PET plastic, which we collect in aquatic environment clean-ups, in the production of the first bottle with 25% marine PET suitable for food use,” she explains.

For her part, the territorial delegate of Development in Seville, Susana Cayuelas, “has thanked Coca-Cola Europacific Partners for choosing Alamillo Park for ‘the installation of a bench that perfectly embodies the urgent need for all of us to get involved in taking care of our planet’. ‘And what better setting than this green lung that Seville has in Alamillo Park, which is embarked on a European program to promote good practices among its users to achieve zero waste’.”

18 benches, 18 ports

The aim is to install these benches in cities such as Madrid or Seville and ports adhering to the Mares Circulares program as a token of appreciation to volunteers and fishermen from each of the cities and ports collaborating with Mares Circulares. In addition to Almería and Garrucha (Almería), Gijón and Llanes (Asturias), benches can already be visited in Punta del Moral (Ayamonte), La Restinga (El Hierro, Canary Islands), Isla Cristina and Punta Umbría (Huelva), Caleta de Vélez and Marbella (Málaga), Andratx (Mallorca), San Martín de Valdeiglesias (Madrid), and Bueu (Pontevedra). Soon benches will be available for viewing in Carboneras (Almería), Muros (La Coruña), Santa Uxía de Ribeira (La Coruña), Fuengirola (Málaga), and Santoña (Cantabria).

Each of these benches has a maximum length of two meters and 67 centimeters and a width of 45 centimeters. Its color is blue-green, reflecting waste from the sea, and its shape evokes the marine waves.

5,200 kilos of marine litter collected in the seas

Mares Circulares has managed to give a second life to non-PET plastic, such as remains of nets, traps, bags, or highly degraded and mixed film found in our seas and oceans, which need to be recycled. Its reuse is already possible thanks to pioneering technology promoted in collaboration with the Vertidos Cero Association, AIMPLAS (Plastics Technology Institute of Valencia), and Plàstic Preciós, an NGO specializing in raising awareness of the circular economy and plastic recycling; within the framework of this project.

To make these benches, about 5,200 kilos of marine litter recovered from the sea in 2022 have been processed. “This material has been obtained thanks to the efforts of fishermen. They are all volunteers who make an extra effort to separate the waste on the boat, bring it ashore, dump it, and have that waste properly managed,” emphasizes Estíbaliz López-Samaniego, project director of the Vertidos Cero Association.

For the bench manufacturing process, AIMPLAS receives the plastic mixture from the ports, conditions it, and grinds it, a phase in which it passes to the NGO Plàstic Preciós, which transforms it into sheets and crafts a bench containing 30% marine plastic, approximately 13.5 kilos. This procedure facilitates tracking the material used in its manufacture and can be verified through a QR code incorporated into the bench itself.

Mares Circulares in numbers

Mares Circulares is an initiative promoted by Coca-Cola in Spain and Portugal, co-financed by The Coca-Cola Foundation, which works aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and especially with SDG 12 – responsible production and consumption, SDG 13 – climate action; SDG 14 – life below water – and SDG 17 – partnerships for sustainable development- In this sense, it has the collaboration of the aforementioned Vertidos Cero Association, as well as Chelonia, the Ecomar Foundation, and the Liga para a Protecção da Natureza (LPN). It also has the support of the General Secretariat of Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food. Mares Circulares started in 2018 and, in global terms, during these 5 years, it has had the help of 34,198 volunteers who have been part of the program and the collaboration of more than 1,200 municipalities, public, and private entities that have supported initiatives developed in different municipalities. In addition, training and awareness activities have been carried out for more than 73,000 people in dissemination days, 14 scientific studies and 6 startups have been awarded.

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