Planet 4 min
Working together to end waste pollution
Interview with Philippe Montagné, Regional Project Director EMEA (Europe, Africa and Middle East) for the AEPW.
Working together to end waste pollution
Working together to end waste pollution

A closer look at some other projects

The Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW) was founded to develop and deploy solutions to tackle plastic waste pollution. Recognising that no single player can tackle the problem by itself, the Alliance’s credo is to forge partnerships with all stakeholders.
Let's have a look at some of these projects

India
Bangalore, Delhi, Kochi and Pandhurna

 

 

 

Working with the socio-environmental company Saahas Zero Waste, the Alliance is helping to bring informal waste workers in four Indian cities into the formal economy. The idea is to maximise the recovery of flexible plastic waste, which until now has been considered of little value. Now in its second phase, the project, which could serve as a model for other Indian cities, is helping micro-entrepreneurs recycle more low-value plastics.

 

 

 

Brazil
Rio de Janeiro

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Maria da Graça, north of Rio de Janeiro, waste pickers from the Coopama cooperative, recognisable by their green T-shirts, visit shopping centres, schools, hospitals and residential areas every day to collect waste. In 2022, the Alliance funded three new lorries, doubling the number of collection points and recovering four times as much recyclable material.

Indonesia
Gresik (East Java) 

 

 

 In Gresik, Eastern Java, waste pickers often clear the streets of PET bottles and sell them to collection centres. However, flexible plastic packaging (from plastic bags to sauce packets) is generally ignored because it has a lower market value than bottles. This means that you need to collect a much larger quantity than bottles to get a reasonable price for it. Greencore Resources, the company that runs the sorting centre, was unable to prepay the waste pickers who wanted to be paid every day, so the Alliance set up a cash fund to pay them daily. Between June and September 2022, they collected 307 tonnes of flexible plastic packaging waste, exceeding the target by 300 tonnes. Almost 300 tonnes were purchased by Greencore and recycled into rLDPE and rLLDPE (recycled polyethylene): new raw materials that will be used to make plastic film, bags and bin liners.

Mexico
Cuautla

Since June 2023, a state-of-the-art plant located in Cuautla, Mexico, has been using a chemical recycling process to convert used flexible plastics (bags) into pyrolysis oil equivalent to naphtha. This oil is then reintroduced into a refinery to produce the monomers used to polymerise food-grade polyethylene. By collecting and processing these hard-to-recycle plastics, and putting them back into the loop for reuse, UK-based Greenback Recycling Technologies, in partnership with Nestlé Mexico and the Alliance, aims to extract value from this low-value, often overlooked material.
In addition to providing a repeatable, scalable and cost-effective means of extracting pyrolysis oil and other recyclable materials from low-value plastic waste, Greenback is addressing a critical shortage of recycled materials amid growing demand from packaging companies. The plant currently has two processing lines, each with the capacity to process 3,000 tonnes of waste per year. A second module — supported by the Alliance — is currently being prepared and should come on line in 2024.

 

 

Indonesia
Sulawesi

 

 

A student committee from Hasanuddin University has designed and installed waste traps along the main rivers in South Sulawesi in a bid to reduce plastic waste entering the sea. The traps took three years to develop! In order to interact more effectively with the communities living along these three rivers, the students shared their knowledge on how to use and maintain the traps. They also “educated” the communities on the proper use and disposal of plastic waste by tackling the problem at its source.

 

 

 

China
Chengdu and Xi’an 

 

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Since November 2021, environmental technology company Lovere, with the support of the Alliance, has installed nearly 1,400 smart bins in the cities of Chengdu and Xi’an. These bins accept recyclable waste and reward those who use them with credits on WeChat, a very popular app in China.
Cameras are installed in each bin to distinguish between recyclable and non-recyclable materials. Rewards are only given to consumers who deposit paper, metal, textiles and plastic. When the bins are 80% full, the waste is collected and sent to one of Lovere’s material recycling centres.

 

The smart bins are easy to use and are available 24/7. The original plan for 2021 was to install 3,000 bins in strategic locations, but Covid put the project on hold for over a year. Deployment resumed in February 2023 to catch up with the original target.

Kenya
Nairobi

 

 

Mr. Green Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya, is a plastic waste recycling company that washes and converts collected plastic waste into pellets. The pellets are then sold to local processors. To increase collection, Mr. Green Africa has set up dozens of collection sites in Nairobi, at petrol stations belonging to the TotalEnergie group, which has a strong presence in Africa. Anyone can collect plastic waste and deposit it in special bins. They are immediately exchanged for cash or green points, which can be used to buy various goods in partner shops. Everything collected is converted into recycled polymers to meet the growing demand for recycled raw materials.

 

 

 

 

Working with Taka Taka, a major local recycler, the Alliance has funded a new sorting centre specifically for this flexible plastic waste. Once collected and compacted, the bundles of waste are sent to the recycling plant to be turned back into polyethylene pellets. More than 500 informal ragpickers have been trained to identify and sort plastic waste. These workers have been provided with protective clothing and boots, and their health is regularly monitored.

 

 

 

 

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