Scoping Study for a DFID-funded Plastic Waste Management Programme

Service line: Thriving Economies / Sustainable Cities

Project: Scoping Study for a DFID-funded Programme to Enhance Plastic Waste Management in Bangladesh, Ghana and Uganda.

Funded by: UK Department for International Development (DFID)

Direct Client: Infrastructure and Cities for Economic Development (ICED) Facility, managed by PwC and SDD

Dates: 03/2018

Through UrbanEmerge and Social Development Direct (SDD), Andreas Beavor was one of a four-person team (from PwC and ASI) that prepared a scoping study for DFID for a programme to enhance plastic waste management in Bangladesh, Ghana and Uganda. A recent GRID Arendal report estimates that global consumption of plastic exceeds 325 million tonnes per annum and that we are on track to accumulate 33 billion tonnes around the planet by 2050. Much of this is currently not recycled and ends up in landfill, polluting the environment and in watercourses which flow into the oceans, particularly during flood events. This is an acute problem in developing countries where poor waste management combines with limited infrastructure resilience to flooding. Approximately 10–20 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans each year. A recent study conservatively estimated that 5.25 trillion plastic particles weighing a total of 268,940 tons are currently floating in the world’s oceans, causing significant environmental damage and health hazards.

UrbanEmerge was responsible for the Bangladesh research, analysis and recommendations to DFID, including interviews with donors, NGOs, government and other stakeholders in Dhaka. The work explored links to livelihoods, access to finance and mobile money as part of the recycling value chain. Interesting initiatives to convert less valuable non-PET type plastics into refuse derived fuel blocks for existing micro-industries that require high temperatures, such as brick factories, were also identified. The Scoping Study enabled DFID to focus on feasible preliminary interventions and the business case.