Dow works to reduce plastic waste in Nigeria through local partnerships

This partnership helps Dow grow its commitment to create a more circular economy by reducing plastic waste and decreasing pollution in West Africa.

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Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics, Midland, Michigan, has announced that Project ReflexNG has launched. The pilot program aims to collect and recycle plastic scrap in Lagos, Nigeria. This is a part of Dow’s global goal to reduce, reuse or recycle 1 million metric tons of plastic by 2030.

This project was made possible through partnerships with Omnik, RecyclePoints and the Lagos Business School Sustainability Centre. Through the project, water sachets will be recycled to show how they can be collected and reused to make new packaging. The goal is to keep about 300 million sachets out of the environment or landfills while teaching more about sustainability.

Right now, it’s estimated that about 19 percent of Nigerians don’t have access to clean drinking water. Water sachets provide a less expensive source of drinking water, especially in urban areas. However, their use has led to more pollution and bad waste disposal. Often, water sachets aren’t included because waste pickers are paid by weight and the sachets are light.

RecyclePoints, a waste management company, will collect the sachets through kiosks. Returning them will have incentives like exchanges for groceries, cash and other needed items. The plan is to expand to include more collection partners later on.

After the sachets are collected, Omnik will process it into postconsumer resin (PCR) and then work with Dow to determine how the PCR can best be used again.

The Lagos Business School’s Sustainability Centre will be a partner to help teach sustainability to small and medium-sized waste businesses. The goal is to teach the right methods so long term sustainability is realistic.

“Currently, more than 90 percent of waste generated in Africa is disposed at uncontrolled dumpsites and landfills. Through our partnerships with Nigerian enterprises, academic institutions and local industry associations, we are making significant strides in addressing the crises of plastic waste and proving that the material does have intrinsic value,” says Adwoa Coleman, Dow’s Africa Sustainability and Advocacy Manager for Packaging and Specialty Plastics. “Together with our industry partners and in alignment with Nigeria’s vision for plastic waste management, we are creating new opportunities for local business entrepreneurs and their surrounding communities.”

The pilot phase runs to February 2021 and after that Dow will scale up Project ReflexNG to recover even more flexible packaging.

Dow is a global packaging and specialty plastics company that says it is focused innovation and leading business positions to achieve profitable growth. The company’s portfolio of plastics, industrial intermediates, coatings and silicones businesses delivers a broad range of science-based products and solutions for its customers. Dow operates 109 manufacturing sites in 31 countries and employs approximately 36,500 people.