Bunzl plc and WasteAid to close the loop on plastic waste in Douala, Cameroon
Published: 11 March 2021
- Thirty young unemployed people will secure long-term jobs in the green economy
- Collecting and recycling 8 tonnes of plastic waste will reduce health problems, climate change emissions and marine plastic pollution
- Partnership between Bunzl plc and WasteAid helping to fight poverty and deliver the Sustainable Development Goals
The specialist international distribution and services group, Bunzl plc is partnering with international NGO WasteAid to create jobs in the collection and recycling of plastic waste in Cameroon.
With Bunzl’s support, WasteAid’s partners will recruit and train 30 young entrepreneurs in the coastal city of Douala to recover value from plastic waste and create long-term employment opportunities in the green economy.
James Pitcher, Head of Sustainability at Bunzl plc said: “The lack of waste collection in Douala is a major cause of environmental concern, with plastic waste blocking drains and filling riverbeds close to the Atlantic coast. WasteAid has been working in Douala to engage young unemployed people in the collection and recycling of plastic waste since 2019, and we are delighted to be building on their positive impact through this 12-month partnership.”
Solid waste management has been identified as one of the major environmental concerns of the city of Douala, and about one third of economically active youth are unemployed. WasteAid will work with existing partner RED-PLAST and new trainees to collect and sort plastic waste from market areas and divert it from waterways and the ocean.
Angela McDermott, WasteAid’s Head of Programmes and Impact said: “The nascent recycling industry in Cameroon can provide dignified jobs and generate much-needed income, while cleaning the environment and preventing pollution. With Bunzl’s support, we are able to develop targeted interventions that provide long-term opportunities for vulnerable young people.”
Plastic waste will be collected from four markets in Douala: Sandaga (Douala I), Congo (Douala II), Maképé and Bépanda (both Douala V). Through partnership working with the local municipality, market managers, stallholders and surrounding businesses, the trainees will collect eight tonnes of plastics including PET, PP, PE and PVC by the end of 2021 and sell the plastics to a network of existing local re-processors, keeping it in the loop.
This initiative will provide a legacy of waste recycling knowledge, skills and employment as well as waste reduction and environmental gains.
The partnership between Bunzl plc and WasteAid builds on their recent joint initiative in Indonesia, helping marginalised communities to increase waste recycling from 10% to 90%.
WasteAid’s Chief Executive, Ceris Turner-Bailes said: “We are grateful to Bunzl plc for supporting another intervention that demonstrates the long-term benefits of sustainable waste management, particularly for communities that suffer from a poor environment and high levels of unemployment. Collecting and preparing plastic waste for recycling creates green jobs and reduces dependence on open dumping and burning, providing important health and economic benefits where they are most needed.”
The 12-month partnership will help deliver a number of the Sustainable Development Goals, including: Decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), Industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9), Sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11), Responsible consumption and production (SDG 12), Climate action (SDG 13), Life below water (SDG 14) and Partnerships for the goals (SDG 17).
If you would like to support WasteAid trainees in combatting plastic pollution before it reaches the sea, please consider a one-off or regular donation.
Written by Zoë Lenkiewicz
- WasteAid is a leading international development organisation on a mission to tackle the global waste crisis. 2 billion people do not have their waste collected and 3 billion lack a decent disposal site, leading to the spread of disease and polluting the air, land, rivers and oceans.
- WasteAid works with communities in low-income countries to address the root causes of climate change and marine plastic pollution.
- WasteAid shares waste management knowledge and skills with governments and communities in low-income countries; trains people to become self-employed recycling entrepreneurs; and influences decision-makers and the donor community to increase investment in waste management.
About Bunzl plc
- Bunzl is a growing and successful Group with operations in the Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific.
- Bunzl applies its resources and expertise to reduce or eliminate many of the hidden costs of in-house procurement and self-distribution. The benefits to customers are a lower cost of doing business and reduced working capital and carbon emissions.
- Bunzl’s operations span across more than 30 countries. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange FTSE100 Index in the Support Services Sector with its global headquarters in London, UK.
Rose Bradbury, Senior Fundraising & Communications Officer, WasteAid