Socially inclusive plastics recycling - a multi-year case study from Kenya
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
ANSOLE Days 2021 & BALEWARE 2021
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
Plastic waste management remains a challenge. In developing, low- and middle income countries, activities of waste management and recycling are often associated with informal work and inadequate handling and treatment leading to low-value output materials. In this presentation, an overview will be given about an ongoing multi-year case study on a plastics recycling company in Nairobi, Kenya. By means of a specifically developed business model, that company tries to integrate local waste pickers into a plastics recycling value chain that is oriented towards both social inclusion of marginalized human beings and quality output that is competitive in an international market environment. Materials characterization by means of spectroscopic and thermo-analytical methods was used to elucidate the composition of informally sourced plastics recyclates. It could be shown, that a sophisticated combination of manual sorting and industrial-scale washing and treatment technology leads to levels of material purity that are comparable to those obtained from formal post-consumer waste management systems in Europe. Similar results were derived for basic material properties of such recyclates. Interview-based research revealed that direct interaction on a personal level between waste pickers and recycling company employees is crucial for trust building and stable supplier-buyer-relationships as well as for adequate material pre-sorting and overall input quality. What remains is a number of sustainability challenges and questions that are yet to be answered. These range from the precise nature, degree, and permanence of improvements in working and living conditions of waste pickers, to issues of occupational and environmental health. With regards to environmental burdens, a specific focus has to be put on the question of sustainable energy sourcing and process water treatment and effluents including microplastics from industrial hot-washing and other recycling operations in future.
Sprache der Kurzfassung:
Hauptvortrag / Eingeladener Vortrag auf einer Tagung