Plastic, plastic everywhere but not for African recyclers

Plastic, plastic everywhere but not for African recyclers (Reuters)

  • As in many developing countries, Kenya’s recycling industry is underdeveloped and relies heavily on the private sector, which has slowed plastic recycling initiatives, as the plastic collection business generates low margins
  • As a result, multinational firms like Coca-Cola and Unilever are subsidizing the collection of their PET through the non-for-profit body called PETCO whose members reportedly account for 60% of the PET market.
  • Additionally, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Unilever and Diageo have formed the African plastic recycling alliance last March to create recycling initiatives.

Analysis and Comments

  • The article showcases the two main issues the plastics recycling industries in most countries are faced with; 1) an underdeveloped collection and recycling infrastructure, and 2) the subsequent lack of recyclable materials to sustain their businesses.
  • While a growing number of governments has already begun to take action (e.g. in the form of bans), more incentives from governments are needed to boost participation in recycling schemes (or, for example, to set up deposit schemes which have shown to be very successful in the EU) and to hold companies legally responsible for the collection of their waste.