Dow has announced the expansion of its Project REFLEX initiative in Egypt and Guinea, following a successful pilot phase in Nigeria. Working together with local partners, the initiative aims to increase flexible packaging recycling in Africa to establish a market for recycled contents to help address the waste issue while providing job opportunities for local communities.
According to the statement, the project, which launched in 2020, specifically targets flexible packaging such as plastic water sachets that ensure local communities have access to clean water, to show that it can be collected and recycled to be used in new, quality packaging applications.
The post-consumer recyclate (PCR) that was created in the pilot phase is currently being trialed by a large brand owner for use in some of their non-food packaging applications. If successful, this will be a live example of a closed-loop system for plastics in Africa and further prove the commercial viability of PCR materials from flexible packaging waste.
The statement added that through Project REFLEX, Dow aims to divert 10,000 metric tons of flexible packaging waste by 2025 which would otherwise end up in landfill or the environment, while also creating direct employment opportunities for over 50,000 waste collectors in Nigeria, Egypt and Guinea through a dedicated innovative waste management company, Wecyclers. So far, the project has diverted a total of 520 mt of flexible packaging waste into mechanical recycling streams and new applications.
Sami Mainich, Regional Director Dow North & West Africa, commented: “At Dow, we know that a critical part of solving the plastics waste crisis is enabling a closed-loop system for waste. Using our expertise in materials science and technological capabilities, we believe that we are best placed to help accelerate the pace of change in developing nations like Africa by supporting innovative local enterprises to scale solutions that benefit the environment and local communities. The Project REFLEX initiative is a prime example of how this can take shape and grow sustainably especially where flexible packaging applications are concerned.”