Localized recycling pop-ups help solve the waste management problem in emerging and developing countries by employing local people to create value out of post-consumer plastics.
TARGET USERS: Individuals, Businesses, Government
KEY CONSIDERATIONS: Waste dumping and burning is one of the world's largest environmental catastrophes, with waste pickers finding themselves in the middle of it all.
In many developing nations, plastic recycling facilities are simply not accessible, translating to higher levels of leaked plastic pollution. In densely populated urban areas, this problem is visibly apparent by the accumulation of plastic waste on land and in the water that becomes part of the local landscape.
While waste pickers in some developing countries are very active in collecting plastic bottles and other plastics of value, soft plastics such as plastic bags, wrappers, pouches, and other scraps, are considered low value as they are not easily recycled or converted. Individual waste pickers and local businesses are not incentivized to collect these soft plastics, further compounding the problem.
Cities can access tools and resources on how to build low-cost plastic recycling and manufacturing facilities that employ local residents. Particularly valuable in the developing world, where large scale recycling facilities may not be accessible or viable, designers and artisans can collaborate with waste pickers in the informal sector to manufacture new and useful products on the ground using localized recycling solutions.
Upp! creates recycling factories where plastics are gathered regionally and made into durable, recyclable products desired by the local community. With a goal to save 250 million kilos of plastic waste every year from incineration, landfills, or oceans by 2025, Upp! supports companies, communities and governments to become plastic-waste-free.
Upp!’s success stories include:
See other Upp! projects at: https://www.upcyclingplastic.com/en/projects/
Sweepsmart offers modern segregated waste management solutions based on European waste management knowledge tailored to emerging and developing countries. With local partners, the Sweepsmart program turns waste pickers into waste managers who collect, segregate and recycle waste, offering a professional waste management service. Their “Smart Waste Systems” has a Europe-meets-local design, which includes a total package of hardware, IT, processes and training.
Visit https://www.sweepsmart.org/ to learn more.
Precious Plastic offers a series of instructional videos to teach people about transforming plastic waste into valuable products. It is a free resource started by Dave Hakkens in 2013, and now counts on the contributions of dozens of people joining the project with their skills and knowledge. From plastic recycling machines, to products made from recycled plastic, to tools for recycling businesses to set-up shop, to industry networking tools, Precious Plastic is a dynamic resource for those looking to turn plastic waste into value.
Visit https://preciousplastic.com/ to learn more.
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