19 Apr Bringing Sustainability into Nepal’s Waste Management Ecosystem – A Joint Venture
The Langtang National Park in Nepal attracts around 18,000 annual visitors, bringing international visitors to the High Himalaya of Nepal, but also contributing to a large amount of plastic waste from water bottles and soft drink bottles. PSD Nepal (Partnership for Sustainable Development, an organisation that aims to facilitate social transformation, development, and empowerment, by providing consultancy for executing, monitoring, and evaluating development projects, has an ongoing plastic waste management project in Langtang National Park. Since 2017, their project encourages trekking and tourism in the region whilst limiting the environmental damage by clearing and recycling 40,000 PET bottles a month, through a local incentive scheme.
Recently, Ennovent partnered with Plasticpreneur, an Austrian business that develops affordable, small-scale plastic recycling solutions and combines them with social entrepreneurship skills to bring its recycling solutions to Asia – specifically India, Nepal and Fiji. A joint partnership with PSD Nepal (PSD Plastics) resulted in the two sets of machines recently arriving and being operationalised in both a remote facility in Nepal’s Langtang National Park and also in an urban recycling facility in Kathmandu, the very first in South Asia.
“We are excited to be launching into the world of upcycling – a mobile and dynamic space – with the help of our partners Ennovent and Plasticpreneur. Our biggest aim through this is the reduction of plastic waste, but we’re equally enthused by rural job creation, youth empowerment, and the possibilities for circularity that it generates”, says Samuel Johns of PSD Nepal.
One of the two machines has been funded by Gexsi, a purpose-driven search engine. The core of Gexsi’s social business is that the income generated by search queries is put into projects that change the world for the better. Funding allocated for Plasticpreneur machinery deployed in Nepal was one such project. Gexsi supported this venture financially by sponsoring a shredder machine from Plasticpreneur to be sent to Nepal. Together with an injection moulding machine and moulds, the venture is now ready to both recycle and upcycle plastic.
Urban and Rural Pilots in Nepal
PSD Nepal, Plasticpreneur, and Ennovent are currently testing pilots in the Langtang National Park (rural) and Kathmandu (urban), training and employing two local entrepreneurs per site. We aim to design and test the initial product portfolio and develop a business plan including a long-term strategy.
“The two pilot projects are now in an incubation phase of three months, with separate employees in both sites. The aim is to test the quality and durability of the upcycled plastic products (using both HDPE and PP plastics) whilst also allowing the machine operators to become comfortable and confident with the new machines”, adds Samuel.
In Langtang, the machines have been tested, and the first batch of recycled products has been created using the lids of PET bottles made of HDPE material. The products developed in Langtang include plastic beads, tortoise keyrings, clothes pegs, buttons, and tea coasters. A similar pilot is underway in Kathmandu, where finished products (buttons, carabiners, and clothes pegs) have just been made ready. While in Langtang, the plastic sourcing value chain has already been established, in Kathmandu, the team continues to work on sourcing clean, good-quality recyclable plastic in high volume for the machines.
Ennovent is currently reaching out to B2B businesses that can source products from PSD Plastics. “We are talking to businesses to understand how well we can match their current products (made from virgin plastic), both in terms of quality and cost”, says Gabish (local implementation expert from Ennovent).
There is a lot of potential for this venture regarding sustainability, job creation, and new business opportunities. Currently, the waste management project at Langtang National Park provides job opportunities for 11 villages in the surroundings. These opportunities will only go up as the scale of the project increases. Gabish Joshi, Country Director, Ennovent Nepal, explains the vision behind this joint venture. “With this venture, in the longer run, we aim to set up Plasticpreneur machines in all seven national parks of Nepal. Once we validate proof of market, this venture can help generate sustainable income opportunities and create a positive environmental impact for local communities”, says Gabish.
If you or your organisation is interested in partnering with Ennovent on this venture to support sustainability in any of Nepal’s National Parks, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.