Smart Solutions for Plastic Waste Management

P4G Theme

Zero Waste Green Industry




Partnership Type


Countries of Operation

South Africa ,


The Smart Solutions for Plastic Waste Management partnership improves plastic waste management to increase recycling and empower waste cooperatives in South Africa.

Investing in Impact

P4G provided the partnership with US $98,235 in grant funding.

The partnership collected data from recycling cooperatives and small businesses in the City of Ekurhuleni to develop a business model for an inclusive plastic value chain from collection to processing. The model is now being implemented with the municipality, which will provide the partnership with an area to build a recycling factory that can transform plastic material collected into recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pellets suitable to produce new plastic bottles.  

Smart Solutions for Plastic Waste Management significantly improved the recycling rate of plastic materials in the municipality, increasing the industrial viability of the recycling process. To spark systemic change in plastic collection, the partnership, led by Oxfam, worked with local cooperatives, local recycling small and medium enterprises and communities to increase uptake in recycled plastic materials. The improved management of recycling operations and increased awareness of separation of waste at source has been crucial to improve waste collection and recovery rates.

The partnership trained approximately 60 community-based enterprises (CBEs) in technical and managerial skills. They educated the community on appropriate waste practices and built awareness about shared responsibility for a sustainable environment. The partnership also included informal waste pickers through the formal establishment of service level agreements for the collection of waste in the Ekurhuleni municipality.  

To help recyclers track the entire collection and recycling process, the partnership developed a mobile and web-based app that stores valuable, accurate data of plastic tonnage collected and income generated from recycling.  

The business model the partnership developed attracted the attention of fast-moving consumer goods companies and government agencies. P4G’s funding enabled the project to proceed to the industrial validation phase of establishing the factory with the support of Unilever and the French Development Agency. During the validation phase, partners will set up a Social Factory that will buy plastic waste from the CBEs and turn it into recycled plastic. The profits generated will be distributed between the waste pickers to ensure a fair and inclusive distribution of benefits over time.


Waste Co-ops of Ekurhuleni


P4G support helped the initiative pitch the project to a wide number of stakeholders, as well as to network with business and government leaders

Benedetta Gualandi, Oxfam


News & Events

Partnership Community of Learning

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