The global plastic waste problem is getting a lot of attention at this moment. My main concern however is not with ocean plastic, but with mainland plastic. In many developing countries waste management lingers far behind the waste production and waste is piling up and forming serious environmental and health problems.
I was aware of this problem, but got actively involved with solutions when I became the project manager of the Greening Plastic Project at Deltares.
the Greening Plastic Project
In this project a Senegalese SME (DMS) receives support from Italian NGO LVIA so as to expand its recycled plastic production with a line of drip irrigation systems (DIS). Farmers are trained in using water saving techniques in agriculture and get access to cheaper DIS, making them more resilient to climate change-related droughts. Deltares pilots passive sampling in Senegal and assesses whether the technique is appropriate for Africa. We came in contact with a local laboratory which is capable of becoming a Passive Sampling Service provider. In addition we identified potential customers and partners in Senegal.
- Blog on the project page - https://www.viawater.nl/projects/the-greening-plastic-project-senegal
- Video of the 2017 trip to Senegal - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKOcCAFrN6A&t=15s
- Blog of the 2017 trip - https://goo.gl/photos/we3CiopXdD21zMD38
- Deltares article - https://www.deltares.nl/en/projects/greening-plastics-in-senegal/
- Documentary in Italian about the family DIAW - http://speciali.espresso.repubblica.it/interattivi-2016/va-e-torna/index.html#Cap1_Testo_1
- BBC documentary - https://www.bbc.com/afrique/media-41206482?SThisFB
- DMS won the SPRINT prize for Greenest Project of Senegal in 2017 https://afrique.latribune.fr/africa-tech/startups/2018-03-02/parmi-les-8-startups-laureates-du-prix-sprint-laquelle-recevra-le-prix-afrique-1000startups-770451.html
Through the Greening Plastic Project, I came in contact with Plastic Fantastic. They developed a very cheap plastic extruder, with which in small volumes, plastic can be recycled. This is by no means suitable for industrial application, but I think it is suitable to introduce rural communities with plastic recycling and perhaps it will even turn out to be possible to build small enterprises around this machine. We will further pilot this in Senegal in 2018.
A plastic Recycling Community
Again through the Greening Plastic Project, we have come in contact with a lot of people in Africa and abroad, who are interested in plastic recycling. I would therefore like to start a plastic recycling community dedicated to plastic recycling in developing countries. Plastic recycling is one of the main topics of my vlog, and will occur regularly in my newsletters. I also mean to collect some useful information about the topic in a central space. For now, I recomment using the community started by Dave Hakken's from Precious Plastic: