AFRICA – Dow has announced the expansion of its Project REFLEX initiative in Egypt and Guinea, following a successful pilot phase in Nigeria.

Dow has collaborated with local partners in an initiative that aims to increase flexible packaging recycling in Africa to establish a market for recycled contents and help address the waste issue while providing job opportunities for local communities.

The project, launched in 2020 targets flexible packaging such as plastic water sachets that ensure local communities have access to clean water, to show that it can be collected and recycled to be used in new, quality packaging applications.

The post-consumer recyclate (PCR) that was created in the pilot phase is currently being trialed by a large brand owner for use in some of their non-food packaging applications.

The success of the trial will be a live example of a closed-loop system for plastics in Africa and prove further the commercial viability of PCR materials from flexible packaging waste.

Through Project REFLEX, Dow aims to divert 10,000 metric tons (MT) of flexible packaging waste by 2025 which would otherwise end up in landfills or the environment.

In doing so, it will also create direct employment opportunities for over 50,000 waste collectors in Nigeria, Egypt, and Guinea through the dedicated innovative waste management company, Wecyclers.

So far, the Project has diverted a total of 520 MTs of flexible packaging waste into mechanical recycling streams and new applications.

Sami Mainich, Regional Director Dow North & West Africa, commented: “At Dow, we know that a critical part of solving the plastics waste crisis is enabling a closed-loop system for waste.”

Using our expertise in materials science and technological capabilities, we believe that we are best placed to help accelerate the pace of change in developing nations like Africa by supporting innovative local enterprises to scale solutions that benefit the environment and local communities.”

The expansion into Egypt began in December 2021 with Dow entering an 18-month partnership with the international non-governmental organization, WasteAid.

The expansion strategy for Project REFLEX will see similar partnerships with public, private, and community-level actors in Egypt and Guinea to increase the collection and valorization of flexible plastic.

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