The ALPLA Group, the global packaging solutions and recycling specialist, has been supporting the non-profit organisation NIDISI since the end of 2021. The organisation is currently setting up recycling centers in Nepal under the project name ReValue and is championing the development of a sustainable waste management system there.
Littering, in other words the thoughtless pollution of the oceans and of nature, is a major challenge of our time. According to recent studies, more than eight million tonnes of plastic waste end up in the oceans each year. A large proportion of this comes from countries that do not have functioning waste collection systems. As well as jeopardising ecosystems, this results in the industry losing important recyclable materials. The ALPLA Group has therefore been championing closed loops and the expansion of recycling infrastructures around the world for many years.
Making positive developments possible
As part of this, ALPLA supports interesting organisations every year that have the potential to play a part in curbing environmental pollution. The aim is to build up partnerships that enable mutual learning and lead to positive developments in the area of sustainability. ALPLA supports technologically innovative organisations and also organisations that create the infrastructure for waste collection systems in countries where these are lacking. In this vein, ALPLA announced at the end of 2021 that it would be funding the non-profit organisation NIDISI.
What does NIDISI do in Nepal?
The organisation NIDISI, which is based in Berlin, initiates social development projects that focus on education, menstruation health and hygiene, water and recycling in Nepal. Its ReValue project is of particular interest to ALPLA as it seeks to establish a local recycling infrastructure in Nepal where, in the absence of alternatives, plastic is frequently disposed of in nature or is burned unchecked. This is precisely where NIDISI comes in, giving value to what people throw away under the motto of ‘Don’t waste the waste’. In collaboration with the Nepali partner Avni, local recycling capacities are gradually being built up as a means of reintroducing the masses of plastic waste there into the materials cycle. This starts with the construction of two recycling centres with financing provided by ALPLA, where plastics are compressed in a bale press. The recyclable plastics from regions without a waste management system can then be shipped and sold to recycling companies in Nepal.
First recycling centre up and running
The first recycling centre was put into operation at the beginning of February and the second is scheduled to follow in May. 800 kg of plastic was compressed in the first week and, when running at full capacity, it will be possible for 20,000 kg of plastic to be collected, compressed and subsequently recycled a month. This equates to the average monthly plastic consumption of around 32,000 Nepalis. At the same time, the local economy will be stimulated as approximately 13 new jobs will be created per recycling centre. These jobs will be financed by the reselling of the plastic.
Making recycling economically viable
Recycling is to be made economically viable in Nepal and the administrative costs are to be covered with the help of plastic credits, which serve as a kind of currency. NIDISI generates one credit for every tonne of plastic recycled in Nepal. These credits are sold to companies in the Global North which can demonstrate that they have reduced their plastic consumption and which wish to offset their remaining plastic consumption. These companies can then offset their plastic consumption while NIDISI invests the money raised in the development of more recycling infrastructure. The idea is for a self-perpetuating upward spiral to come about in the Nepali waste sector that will bring littering to an end in the long term.
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