ZAMBIA – Chilanga Cement in partnership with Nestlé East, and Southern African Region (ESAR) has launched a plastic neutrality project that seeks to reduce plastic pollution in Zambia and the surrounding region.

The companies say the project launch is in line with this year’s Global Recycling Day theme, which is creative innovation.

The project’s target is to collect 160 tonnes of plastic waste generated in the value chain to be processed monthly.

“Nestlé ESAR and Chilanga Cement are bringing together the private sector and local communities using an innovative solution that addresses plastic waste,” noted the companies.

Plastic waste is collected by waste reclaimers from Recyclemania a waste management enterprise in the local community in Lusaka, who work with Chilanga Cement’s sustainability division, Eco Unit.

Recyclemania currently collects 120 tonnes of plastic monthly which are sorted into recyclable PET plastics that get sold to enterprises that reuse plastic waste.

About 10 – 14 tonnes of the remaining non-recyclable plastic are collected, weighed, and co-processed using innovative technology, a process that takes disposal plastic and transforms it into energy recovery, instead of the norm of taking it to dump sites where they end up in landfills.

This disposal is incineration in a closed loop system without residue, ensuring more environmentally friendly processing that has a direct impact to the reduction of landfill waste.

The project’s target is to collect 160 tonnes of plastic waste generated in the value chain to be processed monthly which essentially means plastic neutrality for Nestlé in the country.

Speaking at the launch of the project, Zubayer Davids, Country Business Manager for Nestlé in Zambia and Malawi, said: “This is an exciting project for us here in Zambia, and we are pleased to be partnering with a leading local business and the local community in delivering meaningful change in managing waste.

“Innovation in the ways we dispose of plastic is at the heart of this project. Equally important to note is how this project will help sustain and improve livelihoods in Zambia.”

Davids continued: “We have created and sustained jobs for 37 direct employees and indirectly impacted over 600 community-based collectors within the plastics waste recovery program, the majority who are youth and women in Zambia.

“That is how we are making the ultimate goal of a waste-free future, and reaching net zero by 2050, matter to local communities in the region.”

The project in Zambia forms part of a range of activities that Nestlé have been doing in the east and southern Africa region, projects that bring together government, the private sector, and local communities.

These include a partnership with the National Environment Management Agency and the Department of Education in Kenya, and RE-Imagine Tomorrow, a waste management value chain revamp in partnership with a tech startup and local waste reclaimers in South Africa.

At the heart of RE and these many projects, are three simple principles that will be key in our shift from linear to circular economies, which are:  Rethink, Reducing, and Repurpose.

“We’re proud to be in partnership with Chilanga Cement, who share our vision of a waste-free future,” concluded Davids.

“Working with our Eco Unit division and local community partners, this is just the beginning of an innovative engagement that will deliver meaningful change to Zambia.”

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