Nairobi- Jan 3, 2021: US packaging giant Dow and local recycling company Mr. Green Africa have extended their partnership that was officially launched in November of 2019 during Dow’s Project Butterfly event in Nairobi, Kenya. The project was meant to raise awareness on sustainable plastic waste management, influence positive behavior, and invest in solutions to accelerate recycling initiatives.
So far, the collaboration has enabled the two companies to drive positive change in communities in Kenya where a lack of waste infrastructure led to plastic waste ending up in water bodies, streets, and informal dumps. The partnership has also created a market for flexible plastic packaging, which has unpacked a supplementary income source for workers in the informal waste sector.
Thirty Metric Tons (MT) of flexible plastic waste is now estimated to be processed through Dow and Mr. Green’s waste stream every two months in Kenya. Dow claims the partnership has created a new market for flexible plastic waste and made sorting materials more effective.
The project is modeled around incentivizing waste pickers with a stable, higher income and establishing sorting centers where waste pickers can bring plastic waste in for payment, and then enabling this waste material to be processed in recycling centers.
The scale-up part of the partnership will see Dow and Mr. Green Africa look to onboard a brand owner partner to close the loop by enabling the use of the processed, recyclable flexible packaging into a new packaging application. To overcome person-to-person interaction restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the project introduced a brand-new app to enable residential collection via technology developed by Dow’s technical team and is being deployed locally by Mr. Green Africa.
“We are delighted to stretch this partnership beyond the initial phase and excited for our future partnerships in Kenya and beyond. Playing an integral role towards a circular economy for plastics demonstrates that we can move towards a world in which its environmental performance matches the practical and social benefits of plastic.” Said Adwoa Coleman, Dow’s Africa sustainability and advocacy manager-packaging and specialty plastics.
Kieran Smith, the chief executive and co-founder of Mr. Green Africa, added: “A thriving circular economy for plastics needs the entire waste recovery value chain to work together without excluding any stakeholder. We are pleased to receive Dow’s continued backing to ensure we can continue working towards our shared vision for Kenya and the wider continent, to resolve the plastic waste menace.”
Dow aims to recover at least 5,000 metric tons of plastic waste annually across sub-Saharan Africa by 2025, have flexible packaging incorporated in the recyclable waste stream, and recover valuable waste plastic for recycling, and eventually converted it into new applications.