Dow Expands Flexible Packaging Recycling Efforts Across Africa
Dow expands flexible packaging recycling efforts across Africa
After a successful pilot phase in Nigeria, Dow expands its flexible packaging recycling initiative – Project REFLEX – to new markets in Africa
Post-Consumer Recyclates (PCR) produced during the pilot phase are being tested by a major brand owner for use in some of their packaging applications
Dow aims to divert 10,000 metric tons (MT) of flexible packaging waste by 2025 through Project REFLEX which supports Dow’s global commitment to advancing a circular economy for plastics and reducing plastic waste
Lagos, Nigeria – June 9, 2022 – Dow (NYSE:DOW) announced the expansion of its Project REFLEX initiative to Egypt and Guinea, following a successful pilot phase in Nigeria. Together with local partners, the initiative aims to increase the recycling of flexible packaging in Africa to establish a market for recycled content to help solve the waste problem while providing employment opportunities for communities. local.
The project, launched in 2020, specifically targets flexible packaging such as plastic water bags that ensure local communities have access to clean water, to show that it can be collected and recycled for use in new quality packaging applications.
The post-consumer recyclate (PCR) that was created in the pilot phase is currently being tested by a major brand owner for use in some of its non-food packaging applications. If successful, it will be a living example of a closed-loop system for plastics in Africa and further prove the commercial viability of PCR materials from flexible packaging waste.
Through Project REFLEX, Dow aims to divert 10,000 metric tons (MT) of flexible packaging waste by 2025 that would otherwise end up in landfills or the environment, while creating direct employment opportunities for over 50,000 waste collectors in Nigeria, Egypt and Guinea thanks to innovative waste management company, Wecyclers. So far, the project has diverted a total of 520 MT of flexible packaging waste to mechanical recycling streams and new applications.
Sami Mainich, Regional Director Dow North and West Africacommented, “At Dow, we know that a critical part of solving the plastic waste crisis is enabling a closed-loop system for waste. With our materials science expertise and technology capabilities, we believe that we are best placed to help accelerate the pace of change in developing countries like Africa by supporting innovative local businesses to develop solutions that benefit the environment and local communities.The Project REFLEX initiative is a great example of how this can take shape and grow in a sustainable way, especially when it comes to flexible packaging applications.
Collaboration is key: extending the REFLEX project to new markets in Africa
Expansion into Egypt began in December 2021 with Dow entering into an 18-month partnership with the international non-governmental organization WasteAid, which shares expertise in waste management and recycling in low-income countries and intermediary, to advance the recovery and recycling of plastic waste in Aswan. The expansion strategy of the REFLEX project will see similar partnerships with public, private and community actors in Egypt and Guinea to increase the collection and recovery of flexible plastic.
Olawale Adebiyi, CEO of Wecyclers said, “By working alongside great supporters like Dow to scale sustainable solutions in the fight against flexible packaging waste in Africa, we can help ensure this material retains its value. It has been both gratifying and inspiring to see the positive impact of these combined efforts on Nigeria. local business communities through the pilot phase of the REFLEX project. We look forward to expanding our role in Egypt and Guinea, helping to raise awareness of the socio-economic benefits of sustainable waste management.
Socio-economic focus: help stop waste and support local communities
The project has a strong socio-economic focus, so in addition to providing expertise, funding and technology to bolster efforts to divert plastic waste from the environment, Dow and Wecyclers want to ensure local communities by Africa are aware of the value of these materials. and the income opportunities they can provide through collection, sorting and recycling. For example, the organizations hosted an event in March in partnership with a social impact organization bringing together community members and local organizations to learn about plastics recycling and actively participate in a clean-up exercise on the island. from Lagos, in Lagos kicks off a grassroots campaign to ensure more people collect and bring back their plastic water bags.
Adwoa Coleman, Dow Africa Sustainability and Advocacy Manager for Packaging and Specialty Plastics said: “The reason we are so proud of the REFLEX project in Africa is that it addresses the full life cycle of flexible plastic packaging – from production to use. Our hope is that education, materials and support to local communities and businesses in Nigeria, Egypt and Guinea, and potentially other African markets, received through the program will result in long-term sustainable collection for flexible packaging. Dow, we see a circular economy thriving in the region if it includes the people who are already doing this hard work on the ground to enable it and that is exactly what we are trying to do through the REFLEX project in Africa.”
By collaborating with individuals and organizations that already support waste management infrastructure and recycling, Project REFLEX is piloting and scaling local and sustainable solutions for Nigeria, Egypt and Guinea. This project is aligned with Dow’s STOP THE WASTE global sustainability goal, which will collect, reuse or recycle one million metric tons of plastic globally by 2030.
Funding for Project REFLEX comes from Dow’s Business Impact Fund, a competitive grant program that allocates corporate contributions to shared-value projects to help solve social problems through technology and company expertise.
For more information, visit: www.dow.com
Dow (NYSE:DOW) combines global reach; asset integration and scale; targeted innovation and expertise in materials science; prominent business positions; and environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership to achieve profitable growth and deliver a sustainable future. The company’s ambition is to become the most innovative, customer-centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company in the world. Dow’s portfolio of businesses in plastics, industrial intermediates, coatings and silicones offers a broad range of differentiated, science-based products and solutions for customers in high-growth market segments, such as packaging, infrastructure, mobility and consumer applications. Dow operates 104 manufacturing sites in 31 countries and employs approximately 35,700 people. Dow had sales of approximately $55 billion in 2021. References to Dow or the Company mean Dow Inc. and its subsidiaries. For more information, visit www.dow.com or follow @DowNewsroom on Twitter.
Wecyclers offers convenient home recycling services using a variety of low-cost collection methods. The company drives social change by empowering people in low-income communities to profit from their waste. The company’s model solves the urban waste challenge for households and recyclers. Wecyclers is able to offer a convenient home recycling service in densely populated low-income neighborhoods.
Wecyclers works in partnership with the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and collects recyclable waste, including plastic bottles, plastic bags and aluminum cans, at the household level. Subscribers and households are rewarded with redeemable points based on the volume and quality of recyclables they supply. Wecyclers serves over 25,000 households and has diverted over 10,000 tonnes of recyclable materials from landfills and the ocean to productive reuse. For more information, visit www.wecyclers.com.
For more information, contact:
Judith Hicks (Dow)
[email protected] / Tel +41 44 7282319
Mumbi Keega (Dow)
[email protected] / Tel+254 722 366380
Anna Scott-Mearns (Teneo)
[email protected] / Tel +44 20 3465 9404