SOUTH AFRICA – British non-governmental organization (NGO) WasteAid is one of six organizations that have been awarded funding to combat plastic waste in South Africa.

The organization will utilize the funding to support a feasibility study into developing a circular economy in Mpumalanga.

This initiative aims to help reduce flexible packet litter, identify gaps and challenges at all points of the recycling process, and develop local and regional end markets for recyclable materials.

WasteAid will also work with the University of Portsmouth to pilot participatory approaches to improve waste segregation in households.

The trial is intended to raise awareness of problems triggered by littered flexible plastics and encourage people to recycle more widely.

In addition, the NGO will partner with DARDLEA to look at ways to increase the capacity of local collection and processing.

By stimulating areas in the waste value chain, the two companies will then work with local processors to develop their capacity, which in turn will allow for recovered materials to stay in the local economy – promoting circularity and closing the loop.

“We are honored to be one of the projects selected to be part of the Plastics Challenge Competition and look forward to working with the University of Portsmouth and the local Municipality in South Africa to test methods that will improve the recovery rates of recycled plastic, as well as closing the loop on materials locally,” said Michelle Wilson, Circular Economy Network Director of WasteAid.

Wilson added that the organization is committed to supporting the setup of systems that reduce the impacts of waste, improve local knowledge and build capacity for collection through to end markets.

“Incorporating circularity in waste management allows us to drive people-orientated solutions to improve livelihoods and progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in low-income communities,” added Wilson.

WasteAid is one of six organizations that have secured funding through the International Circular Plastic Flagship Projects Competition.

In March this year, UKRI’s Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging challenge announced £30 million (US$30.89 million) in funding for 18 projects to develop sustainable plastic packaging and increase recycling rates.

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