Connecting Recycling Between Africa and France

Connecting Recycling Between Africa and France

WASTE & HOPE CASE

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 17. Partnerships for the Goals

Overview

  • Connect to plastics recycling networks in African countries (supply) with European markets (demand). Plastic is a highly polluting raw material due to its non-degradation or very slow degradation due to the conditions of its disposal. In African countries, it is common to find plastic in soils due to low regulation that avoids this condition and cultural patterns. On the other hand, European regulations force companies to produce new products each time with a higher percentage of recycled plastic.
  • Develop products with high added value from recycled plastic. For example, benches, baskets for clothes have been developed and it can evolve towards the construction of inputs for construction such as tiles, in cooperation with universities and institutes.
  • Develop a "label" to certify recycled plastic as fair trade, which includes variables of good practices at social level (generation of decent employment) and environmental level (reduction of environmental impact).

Authors

JUAN JOSE LOMBANA ROA

JUAN JOSE LOMBANA ROA

Aida Ximena León Guatame

Aida Ximena León Guatame

School

Universidad Externado de Colombia

Universidad Externado de Colombia

Professor

Gustavo A Yepes López

Gustavo A Yepes López

Innovation

According to the interview Ingrid von Schiller, the innovation of WASTE & HOPE can be defined in three pillars:

  1. Connect to plastics recycling networks in African countries (supply) with European markets (demand). Plastic is a highly polluting raw material due to its non-degradation or very slow degradation due to the conditions of its disposal. In African countries, it is common to find plastic in soils due to low regulation that avoids this condition and cultural patterns. On the other hand, European regulations force companies to produce new products each time with a higher percentage of recycled plastic.
  2. Develop products with high added value from recycled plastic. For example, benches, baskets for clothes have been developed and it can evolve towards the construction of inputs for construction such as tiles and tiles, the former in cooperation with universities and institutes.
  3. Develop a "label" to certify recycled plastic as fair trade, which includes variables of good practices at social level (generation of decent employment) and environmental level(reduction of environmental impact).

Additionally, WASTE & HOPE has stood out with the support and development of the allied network in the collection process in Senegal, which is where it has a unique knowledge and a strategic advantage. With this process, ensures the supply of adequate raw material and has managed to improve the living conditions of recycling families, increasing their income and dignify this work.

On the other hand, WASTE & HOPE has developed its innovative character in the hands of Proplast for the development of some products from recycled plastic.

WASTE & HOPE is a social business, and therefore seeks with its existence to innovate and contribute to solve a problem as serious as the pollution of plastics in seas, rivers, and the division of advanced markets and developing economies.

Connecting Recycling Between Africa and France

Inspiration

Ingrid said us that WASTE & HOPE emerged from a long work in Senegal, collecting and recycling plastic and then selling it. The plastic in Africa is a raw material that is present in all places. At the same time, after spending 11 years collecting and recycling in Senegal, the company realized that many types of plastic of different colors that were recycled did not have a commercial outlet in the markets of East Africa (West Africa) and much less in Senegal and they started knocking on doors in Europe in order to find a market that would ensure the profitability of their social business. There were two main reasons why entering the European market was imperative:

  • The first social: The recyclers who work with the company were paid by weight (not by type of plastic they collected), if they had decided to focus only on plastic with commercial value in Senegal, many of them would have had lower income.
  • The second, environmental: With or without commercial value the plastic is contaminating the sea and rivers and WASTE & HOPE could not collect the bottle of Coca Cola on the beach, so they decided to take on the challenge and innovate, as well as impact the chain of value, are currently processing the recycled plastic to turn it into finishing elements for floors, garbage baskets and containers.

Overall impact

To Ingrid von Schiller, the impacts that the company has generated are the following:

  • In the short term the company was to ensure its sustainability and the income of the 400 people that are linked to it.
  • For society, has been to demonstrate that it is possible and reduce CO2 emissions (needed to produce new plastic from oil), clean water sources and rural areas of Senegal
  • Create awareness of the importance of consuming less plastic
  • Ensure the recycling chain, from the collection of the material, its processing and marketing as an input for the plastic industry.
  • Development of products from recycled plastic, decreasing the consumption of new plastic.
  • Development of cooperation networks between Africa and Europe, developing a circular approach to production.

Business benefit

As Ingrid says, WASTE & HOPE is a company dedicated to supporting small plastic recyclers in developing countries (Africa and South-East Asia for now), so that they can market their product to the European market. By providing advice on how to assemble the collection network, in the process of transformation of the plastic (granulated among others) and in the end, connects them with the national / local and European market to ensure the commercialization of all the plastic at the highest possible price. This is important because now, developing economies do not have the capacity to absorb certain types of plastic that are recycled. Without access to other markets, waste pickers lack incentives to collect and process certain types of plastic, which are equally harmful to the environment.

Social and environmental benefit

For Ingrid, the benefits are:

At the social level, WASTE & HOPE has a plant of 100 - 150 people and indirectly linked around 2,000 waste pickers. They have managed to dignify the work of recycling and improve the income of these families.

At the environmental level, WASTE & HOPE recycles 400 tons of plastic per month. Additionally, more than 10 recycled plastic products have been developed in Senegal (benches for parks, musical instruments, household utensils, among others). Some 80% of the plastic they recycle is marketed in the interior of Senegal and 20% of it is sold to Europe.

On the other hand, and given the results obtained, the Government of Senegal contacted them to cover more localities in the country and to support other entrepreneurs in Africa so that they can establish their network of recyclers and also market their product to Europe. Although it is a bit abstract and difficult to quantify, the greatest benefit of the WASTE & HOPE venture is that they have been able to demonstrate that Africa is not only a place that needs Europe, but can be an ally and supplier of raw materials that favor to the two continents.

Interview

Ingrid von Schiller, Co-Founder - Business development and fundraising

Photo of interviewee

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WASTE & HOPE CASE

WASTE & HOPE CASE

Vendôme, FR

Business Website: https://waste-hope.com/

Year Founded: 2014

Number of Employees: 51 to 200

The first social: The recyclers who work with the company were paid by weight (not by type of plastic they collected), if they had decided to focus only on plastic with commercial value in Senegal, many of them would have had lower income. The second, environmental: With or without commercial value the plastic is contaminating the sea and rivers and WASTE & HOPE could not collect the bottle of Coca Cola on the beach, so they decided to take on the challenge and innovate, as well as impact the chain of value, are currently processing the recycled plastic to turn it into finishing elements for floors, garbage baskets and containers.