Reducing the plastic wasted in Njombe town and raising awareness in the local community about the problems and opportunities around plastic.
SMART approach: develop the private plastic recycling sector using simple tech through supply chain development and training and support to local artisans.
Njombe is a growing town, it has around 100,000 inhabitants who generate more than 35 tonnes of waste per day. 28 tonnes piled in the dump site, where it is a common practice to burn the waste due to lack of space. The rest of the waste is burnt in the pits in backyards or it simply ends up in the environment.
More than 10 % of the waste is plastic: 3500 kg per day and more than 1000 tonnes per year that are piled, burnt or disposed of in the environment.
Until the end of 2017, part of the plastic bottles were collected by companies in Tanzania and sent to China. However, since 2018 China has stopped importing plastic waste. Hard plastic is partly recycled in Dar es Salaam (the economic capital of Tanzania) but there is no market for the plastic bottles.
In Njombe, there are informal pickers who collect and shred the plastic to transport it to Dar es Salaam. This city is 700 km far from Njombe, which makes this option non-sustainable.
The demographic growth in Njombe and the increase of 400% of the imports of plastic and rubber since 2000, indicate that the plastic waste problems will not decrease.
Unfortunately, Njombe is not an exception on this: the situation in the rest of Tanzania and Sub-Saharan Africa follows the same trend: the population in Tanzania is expected to more than double by 2050 and consumption rates are increasing due to development. Consequently, waste generation rates are expected to be more than triple in the country by 2050 while only 48% of the waste is collected and there is lack of waste separation and treatment options. This indicates us that actions need to be taken now, before this global problem gets worse.
The aim of Njombe Beyond is to reduce the plastic wasted in Njombe town through the development of a local plastic recycling network and through awareness raising among the local community about the problems related to plastic waste.
For that, we are developing a workshop to recycle plastic on a small scale by using the Precious Plastic machines. Following the effective approach of the SMART Centres, these machines will allow local entrepreneurs to experiment and learn how to build the machines and how to recycle with them. In addition, we will train and support them in their adventure of starting their business in plastic recycling in key topics like marketing and accounting.
Nowadays, informal pickers carry out plastic waste collection; we will collaborate with them to ensure a fair salary and safe working conditions.
We are collaborating with small companies and industries and the community to discover what to produce to satisfy local needs.
"In this way, plastic waste will no longer be a problem; instead, it will be valuable for the people in Njombe: by creating new jobs and by improving the current ones, manufacturing recycled products useful for the local community and by raising environmental awareness."
We conceive this project as a first step to make Njombe a circular town, to go "beyond": beyond the current situation, the increasing waste generation, the pollution and the linear economy.
We want the schools to be part of the project. Through different events like presentations, tournaments and visits to the workshop, we want the younger generations to discover the impact of plastic as well as its value and potential.