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Trask talk

11 March, 2022

How do you feel when your council misses your rubbish collection one week? But when fuming about a full bin, it’s worth remembering most communities around the world don’t have their waste removed for them, but have to find their own ways of waste disposal.   

With last week‘s news of the landmark global treaty to end plastic pollution­, we wanted to shine a light on some of the innovative approaches to waste emerging across Africa.  

Taking advantage of the rise of smartphone rates, Recyplast in Cote d’Ivoire has an app to find the nearest plastic collection box at volunteers’ homes. Users are rewarded with points that can be cashed in, whilst Recyplast processes the plastic for resale. Similarly, Trash2Cash in Nigeria also uses a digital platform to reward depositing plastic, repaying users with healthcare vouchers, helping access healthcare that would otherwise be unaffordable.  

Kenya’s Megagas takes on three environmental challenges at once, using waste plastic to address air pollution and reduce reliance on firewood. Through a cracking process they turn plastic waste into gas, which is then sold in bottles as affordable cooking fuel to replace wood burning. South African ScarabTech are also in the fuel business, but rather than paying people to bring the waste to them, they bring their processing machines to the waste. Their small off-grid pyrolisis units named ‘beetles’, can be delivered off the back of a lorry and process plastics into a liquid fuel.  

You can find many more of the latest innovations through the Afri-plastics challenge, which is giving awards to smalls businesses who are doing wondrous things with waste.   

By Alice Railton

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