In a media roundtable, Plastic Bank announced the results of its efforts in 2021, and plans for 2022 to reduce the country’s plastic pollution. The social enterprise hammered on its strategy to create an ecosystem for collecting plastic waste and recycling it.
This is accomplished by introducing waste collectors to a formal economy in exchange for various electronically-monitored incentives to improve their living conditions and ensure transparency.
Amr El-Kady, Regional Director for Egypt, the Middle East and Africa, expressed his pride in the accomplishments achieved this year, saying: “We are highly optimistic and proud of what we have accomplished in 2021 by boosting the circular economy in a way that serves the sustainable development goals and Egypt’s vision 2030.”
“We are also pleased with Plastic Bank’s impact in Egypt and its journey to raising awareness on the negative consequences of plastic pollution and the importance of proper plastic waste disposal. We look forward to achieving further progress in the coming year by expanding across governorates and developing our system for collecting plastic waste and recycling operations,” said El-Kady.
He further added how Plastic Bank’s strategy relies heavily on specific factors, including expanding across governorates by increasing the number of collection centres and quantities of plastic waste collected, creating tactical partnerships with major private-sector firms operating in various fields, and developing the enterprise’s online application. Additionally, the social enterprise supports gender equality and empowering underprivileged communities.
In regards to its expansion, El-Kady stated that Plastic Bank has expanded across several governorates in collaboration with Henkel Egypt. Additionally, eleven collection centers were established nationwide in 2021, including six in Mansheyyet Nasser, two in Al-Khosous, one in Fayoum, Port Said, Nuweiba and 15 May cities each. The social enterprise has managed to collect 2,700 tons of plastic waste, which is equivalent to 150 million bottles during 2021, exceeding the target set at the start of the year by 105%.
El-Kady further expressed aspirations for the coming year, saying: “We look forward to achieving more progress through developing our plastic waste collection systems, recycling operations and expanding nationwide.”
He announced plans to collect 5,000 tons of plastic by 2023 through expanding in four provinces, including Alexandria, Assiut, Kafr el-Sheikh, and Menoufeya. These efforts align with the attempts to integrate the informal plastic waste collection sector and transform it into a formal one.
Moreover, El-Kady highlighted the need to create public mobility through various strategic partnerships, the most prominent being with Henkel. He added that such fruitful cooperation aims to boost societal development and reinforce environmental sustainability. GIG and QNB Alahli are also among Plastic Bank’s prominent partners, as they offer medical insurance and facilitate electronic payments to collectors.
He highlighted Plastic Bank’s efforts to develop the online application and ensure transparency. Hence, the social enterprise has succeeded in registering, transferring and monitoring 100% of the incentives received by plastic waste collectors in exchange for the quantities of plastic waste collected. This comes to guarantee the credibility and transparency of the system and support the government’s efforts towards achieving financial inclusion. In addition, Plastic Bank succeeded in providing waste collectors with health insurance as an essential part of the incentives they receive.
El-Kady concluded by emphasizing the importance of empowering underprivileged communities and ensuring gender equality by elaborating that the enterprise has a total of 319 plastic waste collectors in each of Al-Khosous, Mansheyyat Nasser and 15 May City, in addition to 40 others in Port Said, 30 in Nuweiba, and 25 in Fayoum, with women constituting 15% of the total jobs. Moreover, a sum of 573 opportunities was provided to ensure a stable source of income and improve living conditions.
Plastic Bank provides each and every worker with the necessary protection tools through a first aid kit. It is worth noting that the social enterprise opposes and prohibits any form of child labour through banning it at any of its plastic waste collection centres.