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Nestlé East, and Southern African Region (ESAR) has launched its RE sustainability initiative in Zambia

Plastic waste recyclingThe project’s target is to collect 160 tonnes of plastic waste generated in the value chain to be processed monthly. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

The programme kicks off with a partnership with Chilanga Cement in a plastic neutrality project that seeks to reduce plastic pollution in Zambia and the surrounding region. The partners are bringing together the private sector and local communities using an innovative solution that addresses plastic waste.  

Plastic waste is collected by waste reclaimers from Recyclemania a waste management enterprise in the local community in Lusaka, who work with Chilanga Cement’s sustainability division, Eco Unit. Recyclemania currently collects 120 tonnes of plastic monthly which is sorted into recyclable PET plastics that gets sold to enterprises that reuse plastic waste. 

About 10-14 tonnes of the remaining non-recyclable plastic are collected, weighed, and co-processed using innovative technology, a process that takes disposal plastic and transforms it into energy recovery. This disposal is incineration in a closed loop system without residue, ensuring a more environmentally-friendly processing that has a direct impact to reduction of landfill waste. The project’s target is to collect 160 tonnes of plastic waste generated in the value chain to be processed monthly.

Zubayer Davids, country business manager for Nestlé in Zambia and Malawi, said, “We are taking charge, aiming our efforts at reaching plastic neutrality by rethinking how we reduce plastic waste in landfills. Innovation in the ways we dispose of the plastic is at the heart of this project. Equally important to note is how this project will help sustain and improve livelihoods in Zambia. We have created and sustained jobs for 37 direct employees and indirectly impacted over 600 community-based collectors within the plastics waste recovery programme, majority who are youth and women in Zambia. That is how we are making the ultimate goal of a waste-free future, and reaching net zero by 2050, matter to local communities in the region.”  

Jianping Chai, CEO of Chilanga Cement, added, “With this partnership, will help reduce our carbon footprint by diverting domestic waste from landfills and transforming it into energy resources. We are proud to be part of this project, as it is an example of how companies can work together to create positive change for our environment. This is an important milestone in our journey to achieve net zero waste going to landfills.”