Case Study – Plastic bottles

Josephine in Kampala, Uganda
Living Earth Uganda has been working with local district councils in Kampala and a private company Plastic Recycling Industry (PRI) to develop a model for plastic waste collection that enables communities to earn an income through collecting the mountain of plastic bottles which currently clog the city’s waterways.  Plastic Recycling Industry is a plastics company that buys waste plastic bottles which it then uses in place of costlier imported virgin PET material in its production chain.

In August 2010, Josephine was trained by Living Earth Uganda in the benefits of plastic waste collection, how to collect plastic waste safely, how to link to PRI and in basic business management skills. Josephine was previously unemployed but now, working with her brother and sister, she earns a steady income from plastic waste. Today her main concern is that “we have collected so many bottles, we are running out of space.” The drainage ditches in the slum area where she is working are now free of plastic bottles.

Central to the training approach is the focus on empowering participants to recognise their ability to transform their activities into credible businesses, capable and confident of negotiating partnerships with the formal private sector and local government.

“The trainees are not just collecting plastic; they are managers of plastic waste businesses.”

Swithern Tumwine, Director, Living Earth Uganda.