Tan An, Vietnam, and Puducherry, India

Zero Plastic Waste Cities

With the Zero Plastic Waste Cities projects, a partnership with Yunus Environment Hub, we aim to recycle up to 28,000 tons of plastic during the first 5 years of operations in the two cities: Puducherry on the Southeast coast of India, and Tan An on the Mekong Delta of Vietnam.

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Puducherry, India: Waste workers are some of the most vulnerable communities in India, but a vital part of solving for circularity that needs to be supported and uplifted.

Puducherry, India: Waste workers are some of the most vulnerable communities in India, but a vital part of solving for circularity that needs to be supported and uplifted.

Overview

The Zero Plastic Waste Cities projects will improve and supplement existing municipal waste management systems, preventing the collected plastic waste from leaking into the environment and instead turning it into valuable recycled materials, giving value to neglected plastic waste streams.

Location

Tan An, Vietnam & Puducherrry, India

Local Partner

Yunus Environment Hub

Plastic Waste Diversion Target

28,000 tons of plastic waste recycled in the first 5 years of operations

Building sustainable businesses to end plastic waste

Zero Plastic Waste Cities is the combined vision of the Alliance and the Yunus Environment Hub, a programme for social business solutions co-founded by Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Muhammed Yunus. As defined by Professor Yunus, who pioneered the concepts of microcredit and microfinance, a social business model is designed to address a social problem through a financially self‑sustaining business concept that is driven by its impact on society.

In the Zero Plastic Waste Cities, we aim to do this by improving and supplementing existing municipal waste management systems, preventing the collected plastic waste from leaking into the environment and instead turning it into valuable recycled materials, giving value to neglected plastic waste streams. The project supports the formal engagement of waste pickers, who collect and sort recyclable waste. 

Solving local problems with global solutions

As a first step, Yunus Environment Hub conducted feasibility studies in these two cities, analysing the current value chain and waste management system to identify strengths and weaknesses. This includes determining the different stakeholders involved, such as waste pickers, and their needs.

It is important to engage the most impacted communities, as these efforts depend on their input. “The strength of these projects shows the power of entrepreneurship,” says Christina Jäger, Director of the Puducherry and Tan An projects.

The two options for recycling output being developed for the local markets are pelletising plastic waste, which in turn can be used in consumer goods or building products; or using compression moulding to convert the waste into plastic boards that will eventually be used for furniture material, such as shelves, countertops, or panels. 

Our teams on the ground are in the midst of securing the best locations to build the new recycling facilities, which should be up and running in the second half of 2021. 

We firmly believe that social business is part of the solution. It provides a way to organise waste management efficiently and to recognise the hard‑working people in the informal sector that are often the most vulnerable in our society.

Christina Jager, Director, Yunus Environment Hub