30th March, Kigali Rwanda the Global Green Growth Institute in collaboration with Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), and Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and Save The Environment Initiative (SEI) officially launched the Plastic Waste Web portal , the hybrid event took place at the newly renovated Norrsken House. The event was attended by different stakeholders from public and private sector, the British High Commission in Kigali, GIZ, Government Institutions, Entrepreneurs, Waste Recyclers and Youth volunteers from Save Environment Initiative who participated in the Data collection on plastic waste bottles conducted from 04-26 March 2022.
Plastic pollution is of increasing, global concern. This year, at the Fifth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly, the Governments of Rwanda and Peru introduced a proposal for an international, binding treaty to combat plastic waste. The level of international coordination required necessitates the cooperation of the private sector, national and sub-national governments, youth, and civil society organizations to collectively engage in efforts to address plastic pollution. These actions range from incentives designed to reduce the amount of plastic being produced, high-level policies and regulation to facilitate transparency and accountability of the producers of plastic waste, innovative financing mechanisms to encourage the reuse and recycling of waste, as well as the engagement of non-state actors in challenging the current system that has so far failed to address the urgent challenge of mounting plastic waste in our cities, waterways, and landfill sites.
The lack of data around the quantities and types of plastic waste serves as a deterrent for more coordinated action and effective mechanisms for reducing the amount of plastic pollution being produced and improperly disposed of. In Rwanda, plastic pollution in cities has resulted in disrupting drainage systems for flooding. Plastic waste has also contributed to the volumes of waste being sent to landfill with facilities nearing capacity in heavily populated urban centers in Rwanda. The web portal serves as a tool to increase the capacity to identify gaps, opportunities, and challenges in the plastic waste value chain. The portal aims to connect the producers of plastic waste with recycling companies that can make use of plastic as a material for new products. The portal also serves as a decision-support tool for policymakers to identify the most appropriate actions needed to incentivize the reuse of plastic to increase circularity in the plastic waste value. Furthermore, the portal also provides information for potential entrepreneurs, investors, and the private sector to leverage existing opportunities based on the material currently being produced as waste that could be valorized to turn into resources.
- Researchers: Provide granular, geo-referenced data on the types of plastic waste being generated in Rwanda for additional material flow analysis and policy analysis on plastic pollution legislation and regulation.
- Community-based Organizations and Youth Groups: Identify hotspots of plastic waste for targeting cleanup events and setting up collection points.
- Policymakers: Assist in identifying current gaps and challenges in effectively managing plastic pollution.
- Entrepreneurs: Identify gaps in the market for recycling of specific types of plastic. Provide information on sources of aggregated plastic that are yet to be valorized.
- Investors: Provide data on the quantities of waste that are available for business models that can use waste plastic as a raw material.
- Private Sector: Demonstrate the benefits and need for circularity in the plastic waste value chain. Connect companies with recycling companies that actively reimburse companies for plastic. Increase circularity in business practices and operations.
The purpose of the event was to launch a tool designed to track plastic waste in Rwanda. The tool has been built based on international best practices and examples of efforts to increase the amount of data and information available to track plastic waste. The portal aims to support efforts to map the plastic waste value chain, identify plastic waste aggregators and recyclers, and contribute to the valorization of plastic waste. The portal is aligned with national and regional initiatives to promote recycling, increase resource recovery of plastic, and to introduce Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). The web portal is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). The data collection was conducted by the youth organization, Save the Environment Initiative (SEI). The portal is to be hosted by the Cleaner Production and Climate Innovation Center (CPCIC). The activity was implemented by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI). The portal was developed using an iterative, consultative process to incorporate feedback from various stakeholders on the functionality of the portal and to identify synergies with existing initiatives around the collection and valorization of PET, the drafting of extended producer responsibility (EPR) guidelines, and the integration of circular economy principles into sustainable wastes management practices in Rwanda.
Helena McLeod, the Deputy Director General and Head of Green Growth Planning and Implementation Division at Global Green Growth Institute headquartered in Seoul, South Korea said that “Rwanda is a country very close to my heart I’ve visited many times before and I’ve always been so impressed by what has been achieved in terms of waste management and the leadership of the government has been so impressive, but also the participation of the community as well.”
She added that “plastic, of course is something that is so useful, and we use it for so many things. But it’s also become such a big problem in so many countries. I’ve lived in Africa for many years, and I’ve worked in several countries in Africa, and Africa has some of the most outstanding countryside and landscapes. But I’ve seen over the last two decades, this encroachment of wastes, which affects the infrastructure”
In terms of looking at these alternatives, like the biodegradable alternatives, there’s also an urgent need to increase the processing capacity to sustainably manage, reuse and recycle plastic waste, especially in the cities.
The event launch aimed to promote the use and engagement with the portal to attract companies, entrepreneurs, and waste aggregators to begin to enter their own data on stockpiles of unused plastic waste, types of plastic that are needed, and to provide contact details for a database of waste producers, recyclers, and aggregators. The web portal draws upon data that has been collected in the City of Kigali and the six secondary cities. The launch of the portal has enabled stakeholders to begin actively using the portal to identify opportunities, connect with recycling companies, and increase circularity in the plastic waste value chain in Rwanda.
Michelle Defreese, GGGI Rwanda Senior Green Growth Officer and Manager of Waste to Resource Project, the moderator of the launch event, said that the purpose of the event was to launch a tool designed to track plastic waste in Rwanda and to attract stakeholder’s in data collection. The activity was implemented by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI). The portal was developed using an iterative, consultative process to incorporate feedback from various stakeholders on the functionality of the portal and to identify synergies with existing initiatives around the collection and valorization of PET, the drafting of extended producer responsibility (EPR) guidelines, and the integration of circular economy principles into sustainable wastes management practices in Rwanda.
The tool has been built based on international best practices and examples of efforts to increase the amount of data and information available to track plastic waste. Its aims to map the plastic waste value chain, identify plastic waste aggregators and recyclers, and contribute to the valorization of plastic waste. The portal is aligned with national and regional initiatives to promote recycling, increase resource recovery of plastic, and to introduce Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). The web portal development was funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). The data collection was conducted by the youth organization, Save the Environment Initiative (SEI). The portal will be managed by Global Green Growth Institute for a period of 2.5 years and will be handed over to CPCIC for future management.
Anna Wilson, Development Director at the British High Commission in Kigali, in her opening remarks said that “by providing this data on plastics, the portal will also help with the implementation of an extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme, which the UK is supporting Rwanda to design through the UK’s manufacturing Africa Programme. The EPR schemes are based on a polluter pays principle where companies put plastic packaging on the market and pay a fee, which will go towards waste collection, sorting and recycling and this scheme builds on existing regulations as well as a pilot project that Rwanda leads with the private sector federation.
“I would also like to thanks to GGGI and the Save Environment Initiative (SEI)and the Cleaner Production and Climate Innovation Centre (CPCIC) for their work in setting up the portal and leading the data collection.”
III. Topics presented during the launch event
- The role of CPCIC in Supporting Circular Economy Initiatives and Opportunities in Plastic Waste.
MUGABEKAZI Sylvie from Cleaner Production and Climate Innovation Center (CPCIC) presented the role of CPCIC in promoting circular economy in Industries. The CPCIC has introduced to 15 industries and SMEs, the concept of resource efficient, cleaner production and circular economy. Industries and SMES, were advised to:
- Reduce level of consumption of natural resources (raw materials, water, energy)
- Reduce Greenhouse gas and other emissions and industrial wastes in industries and SMEs.
- Mainstream the adoption of more resource-efficient and clean production patterns such as recycling, resource recovery, sound treatment and disposal of wastes, waste waters and toxic and/or hazardous chemicals,
- Green technologies investment (renewable energy use, efficient equipment and machinery, process optimizatio
Mugabekazi Sylvie said that there are still challenges in promoting circular economy, as people do not show interest in buying recyclable products. There is a need of awareness raising to promote Circular Economy and improve the quality of recyclable products and make them competitive to the market.
- The Role of Data in Beating Plastic Pollution, and Comparative Analysis in the Region
Cameron Smith, Founder, UnWaste via Videoconference presented findings from data collected on PET plastic waste in East Africa in 2021-2022. Data were collected in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia. Over 90% of plastic waste bottles in East Africa is PET bottles and CocaCola is the global giant company leading others in producing PET bottles. This exercise of scanning plastic bottles contributed a lot in the identification of the names and brands that produce a lot of plastic waste bottles, with these reports, producers can be easily accessed for requested for contributing in collecting plastic waste. In Rwanda, same data collection was conducted in the City of Kigali and Secondary cities form 04-26 March 2022. Plastic wastes bottles were scanned, using the Wastebase.app and Bakhresa Group from Tanzania, was identified as the big producer of Plastic waste bottles in Rwanda. Sulfo Rwanda Industries was presented as the third contributor in producing plastic waste bottles in Rwanda. However, CocaCola is the fourth producer in Rwanda.
Introduction on Plastic Waste Web Portal
The Web Developer Joseph Gaga, presented the Web portal and explained its functionality. One can visit the plastic web portal, with search option that allows you to search on any type plastic waste you could be looking for. One can also browse on the map to identify the different locations of type of waste. This content can be provided by recycling companies, or people who provide waste and people who need waste can be able to indicate what they need. “when you visit the portal, you will see the dashboard that includes a map, we have offers, that means people who have waste and have it for sale, we have requests from people who need wastes, then we have FAQs, and then about a description about the portal itself and then we have a login.” Gaga explained. Once you scroll down, you are able to browse the map of the different offers so you can see the offer, the plastic that’s available, the kinds of plastic, the amount stored, the location, the phone number, so, if you’re interested in particular waste, you can be able to contact this person by email or by phone.”
Irutingabo Ange, The Sustainable Waste Management Intern, explained to the participants that the web portal was developed to meet following targets;
- Tracking plastic waste that can be used as raw materials by recycling industries and companies.
- Supporting the social behavior change of sorting waste at source point,
- Valorize plastic waste and promote circular economy approaches in the value chain of sustainable waste management
- The Web portal to serve as a selling point to support the Extended Producer Responsibility, the producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of product’s life cycle. The web portal supports the implementation of the EPR guidelines, which encourages producers to take back plastic bottles away from municipalities. The take back mechanism responsibility is placed on producers by establishing collection and recycling for post- consumer plastic packaging wastes. Whereby consumers return the used plastic packaging to a specified location such the selling point, for collection and recycling.
Role of Youth in beating plastic pollution
Faida Zoubeda, the Representative of Save the Environment Initiative presented on the role of youth in beating plastic pollution. She mentioned 4 key areas where youth should be more involved, including raising awareness on plastic pollution, participate in climate actions, conducting research and collecting data, bringing technologies that can play a vital role in addressing plastic pollution.
Michelle DeFreese, The Senior Officer at GGGI, thanked all participants for their positive feedback for the web portal and looking forward to seeing its impact in beating plastic pollution. GGGI recognized the Save the Environment Initiative for its contribution in data collection of plastic waste bottles in Kigali City and Secondary Cities. 12 young people were given certificates of appreciation for their excellent work done during Data collection of plastic waste bottles.
Participants had a time for remembering the late Steven the founder of the Cleaner Production and Climate Innovation Center. He was remembered for his contribution and introduction of circularity approaches in Rwanda especially in production chain. He worked with so many industries and promoted resource efficiency in industries. A poem was dedicated to him and to his family.
About the Organizers
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO): The FCDO pursues national interests and projects the UK as a force for good in the world. The FCDO promotes the interests of British citizens, safeguard the UK’s security, defend our values, reduce poverty and tackle global challenges with our international partners.
Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI): GGGI is a treaty-based international, inter-governmental organization dedicated to supporting and promoting strong, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth in developing countries and emerging economies.
Cleaner Production and Climate Innovation Center (CPCIC): The CPCIC is a result of a merger between the decade-old Rwanda Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production Center and the envisioned Climate Innovation Centre (CIC). CPCIC works to ensure that all technology, processes, services and choices made by the private and the public sector embrace the best practices in terms of climate change resilience and cleaner/efficient production.
Save the Environment Initiative (SEI): SEI is a youth startup non-governmental organization with headquarter in Kigali, Kicukiro district. SEI’s vision is to promote, to conserve and to save environment through different initiatives directly linked to community needs in matter of facilitating implementation of environmental and climate change management principles. young boys and girls studying undergraduate in University of Lay Adventist of Kigali founded it; and it is growing and acquiring more young environmental champions.
Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA): REMA is responsible for ensuring that environmental issues and climate change are integrated into Rwanda’s development. Specifically, we are mandated to: Mainstream environmental concerns and climate change across all sectors to improve performance and productivity, Reduce Rwanda’s vulnerability to climate change, Control pollution and ensure environmental regulations for sustainable development are complied with.