LOCALIZED RECYCLING POP-UPS

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.

    MORE INFORMATION: https://www.renewoceans.org/


    Collections: BEST PRACTICES, COLLECTION, RECYCLING


    THE PROBLEM

    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.

     

    THE SOLUTION

    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.

     

    CASE STUDY EXAMPLES

    Upp!

    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:

    Circular Plastic Factory, Phu Quoc
    Together with the TTC Group, Upp! will close the plastic loop on Phu Quoc by building a Circular Plastic Factory that will use plastic waste from local beaches to make building materials used in the construction of Phu Quoc’s hotels and resorts.
    Ecopark Hanoi
    Together with the Minh Khai plastic craft village, Green Hub Vietnam, CECR, Vihajico and other partners, Upp! aims to recycle and up-cycle plastic waste from Ecopark Hanoi to make products for public areas, infrastructure and the expansion of the park itself.

    See other Upp! projects at: https://www.upcyclingplastic.com/en/projects/

     

    Sweepsmart

    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

    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.

     

    Renew Oceans

    Renew Oceans is a non-profit entity that works on the ground in river-adjacent communities in the developing world to reduce ocean plastic. They focus on plastic collection, conversion, and community engagement.

    Water Based Collection
    “ReFences” are placed in rivers to collect plastic waste as currents flow, thus diverting the waste from ocean bound pathways. This biofencing is anchored to the shore and pushes plastic waste into shallow waters where local waste pickers use nets to gather diverted plastic. They can then bring their collected plastic to one of the “Plastic Munchers” or collection centres to receive payment.
    Land Based Collection
    The Plastic Muncher acts like a reverse vending machine, engineered to receive soft plastic waste and then to compensate the “customer” with rewards based on their plastic waste deposits. These kiosk-style exchange stations are installed in public areas within river and tributary communities placed within 50 kilometres of one of their satellite conversion facilities.
    Processing
    Renew Oceans facilitates the sale of all plastic bottles collected from land and water based systems for conventional recycling. They also separate non-bottle plastics to be processed at a satellite conversion facility, where they deploy RenewOne, a conversion process that accepts soft plastics to create renewable fuel. RenewOne’s process reverses the molecular structure of flexible plastics to create diesel fuel. The conversion does not create toxic emissions, and the resulting diesel product has a high market value and can be used locally in multiple ways. This conversion process creates the end market value for soft plastic waste that affords the waste pickers higher financial returns.

    Visit https://www.renewoceans.org/ to learn more.

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