An end of year message from our CEO

News, Thought Pieces,

Author: Jessica Stickland

Published: 19 December 2023

As this year draws to a close, I am delighted to reflect on what has been a very successful year for WasteAid, delivering our vision of a world without waste where people in need are empowered to recover its value.  Whilst the year has not been without its challenges, I am hugely proud of all that we have delivered.  This has been our biggest year so far for our young and dynamic organisation and we positively impacted the lives of 1,264,730 people in Cameroon, Egypt, Gambia and South Africa.  Our programmes have succeeded in saving 244.20 kt of CO2 emissions through waste being reused or recycled within our programmes – the equivalent of travelling 37 times around the earth’s equator by car!  We have intervened to reduce and recycle plastic, organic and electronic waste.  We couldn’t do this without the support of our friends and donors, and I wish to extend our thanks to all who have been with WasteAId on this journey.


The projects that we delivered this year include the fabulous Circular Economy Network in The Gambia which was funded by the CIWM (Chartered Institute of Wastes Management).  Phase one of this project came to an end in June, but I am delighted that we continue to partner with CIWM for phase 2 which is already enjoying fantastic engagement.  This project is both unique and innovative and is professionalising waste management and supporting circular economy innovation.  In Egypt we have been tackling flexible plastic waste in the Aswan region bringing stakeholders together to create sustainable local solutions funded by Dow Packaging.  In South Africa, we were awarded funding from UKRI (UK Research & Innovation) through WRAP’s (Waste and Resources Action Plan) International Circular Plastic Flagship Projects competition. We undertook an innovative feasibility study developing a circular economy centred and stimulating end-markets locally for recyclable materials.  Early 2023 saw the launch of our partnership with the Norwegian Retailers Environment Fund (NREF) focused on the empowerment of vulnerable communities in Banjul, Gambia to reduce and recycle plastic waste through a local recycling facility.


We also continued our impactful collaboration with long-term partners Bunzl Group Plc, who supported our interventions in both Cameroon and South Africa with the informal sector engaged in waste management – elements included the construction of a plastic recycling facility in Cameroon and practical and financial support to wastepreneurs in the townships of Johannesburg.  Finally, we further developed projects to tackle organic waste in The Gambia and electronic waste in South Africa funded by Partners Group and The Dixon Foundation respectively.


Through these projects we have supported and nurtured entrepreneurs and green businesses in the waste space, as well helping communities to reduce waste pollution.  It has been a busy year, but we are still keen to do so much more, and you know what, we will be doing even more!  I am thrilled to let you know that at the same time as delivering what we have in 2023, the amazing team at WasteAid has been able to develop an innovative and expansive 2024 portfolio which includes starting work in two additional countries.  We are set to grow a phenomenal 70% and will be working with new funders and partners, do stay tuned for announcements in due course!  Without funders such as our proud partners Biffa and their committed staff, ARM, Beyondly, Compass Group, Cromwell Polythene, Helen & Michael Brown and Zumo our ability to develop such innovative and impactful responses to the waste crisis would be significantly curtailed.  Thank you again for your support it is as a direct result of this that WasteAid is set to reach even greater heights in 2024.


I would like to also thank our individual supporters, whether sharing or liking our social media or contributing to our fundraising campaigns, thank you.  Times are tough and this support is enormously appreciated.   Equally, we hugely appreciate the support from members of the Foodservice Packaging Association, attendees of the National Recycling Awards and individual members of CIWM.


I am sure you have seen that we have recently launched an ambitious fundraising campaign to help us raise £1 million by the end of 2025 which will be WasteAid’s tenth anniversary.  This is to ensure the sustainability of our vital organisation and to allow us to continue to do even more.  Any ideas or suggestions as to how you could help us achieve this target would be gratefully received.  If you would like to get involved, please get in touch.  We are already off to a great start even in just the first month and we will be sharing updates in 2024.


It now only remains for me to wish you all a very happy holiday season and to offer my very best wishes to you for 2024.


Ceris Turner-Bailes

CEO, WasteAid