UK non-governmental organisation WasteAid, in collaboration with local recycling company Plastics Recycling Gambia, has launched a new plastic recycling project in Gambia, West Africa.

The effort is being funded by the private Norwegian Retailers Environment Fund.

The initiative aims to support national and international projects to minimise the use of plastic and the pollution produced in the country while also boosting its number of plastic recycling practices.

As part of this project, WasteAid, local communities, local waste collectors, and Plastics Recycling Gambia, a company formed in 2019 by Gambian entrepreneur Alieu Sowe, will work together to enhance the process of collecting, sorting and recycling plastic waste in the country.

The scheme is scheduled to take place over the next two years and will further help to provide business training for the country’s collector groups, as well as to Plastics Recycling Gambia to ensure that it can accurately support and expand the project in the future.

The organisations will also set up new collection infrastructure and run various behaviour change campaigns across Gambia.

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This project is expected to facilitate the recovery of recyclables by minimising the overall amount of plastic that is dumped or burned in the country, and by developing sustainable income streams for those who help collect the waste.

According to WasteAid, it has supported Plastics Recycling Gambia in the past under another programme to support Gambian ‘wastrepreneurs’.

This programme was sponsored by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management and helped the recycling company to get the investment, skills and mentoring needed for its ongoing success.

Currently, Plastics Recycling Gambia’s facility is the ‘only organised collection service’ in the country that collects high-density plastic. The company washes, sorts, cleans, chops, and chips the collected plastics and then sends them to GamPlast for final processing.

GamPlast pelletises the processed plastic to make new products such as water pipes, basins and buckets that are used in nearby areas.

Every month, Plastics Recycling Gambia collects approximately 15 tonnes (t) of hard plastic from 21 collection stations set up across the region while the latest initiative aims to increase this plastic recycling volume to 50t per month.