To that end, the initiative found ways to integrate these workers into the project ecosystem. They were given the right protective equipment and tools, and workshops on effective and safe plastic waste management to work safely. Some 45 waste workers in the area landed formal roles in the sector, and over 500 waste workers benefited from the social inclusion initiatives. These included fairer wages and, for some, insurance coverage.
To strengthen the baling, collection and trading capacity of smaller aggregators, three baling machines were installed, and relationships were established with larger aggregators and recyclers for the collection of the waste – effectively turning them into micro-entrepreneurs. The detailed journey of the waste – from source to recycled product – was documented to ensure transparency and traceability.
The initiative, which began in July 2022, has been rolled out in two major Nepal provinces, Bagmati and Madhesh. Targeted areas of collection include Birgunj, Chitwan and Kathmandu Valley, where plastic waste leakage threatens ecosystems.
In the first phase, which ended in March 2023, close to 1,050 tonnes of plastic waste was recovered and recycled, exceeding the project target of 1,000 tonnes. Of this, 61.4% was PET and 38.6% were LDPE and HDPE.
Through Prayaash, the untapped value of Nepal’s plastic waste can be harnessed through recycling, benefitting its community of waste workers – but it needs to be done with the right people and infrastructural strategies in place. The project has now entered its second phase, where it aims to collect and recycle 1,700 tonnes of plastic waste over a 10-month period. Creasion is also studying the feasibility of building a PET recycling facility, helping to push Nepal closer to plastics circularity.