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Uganda’s Beverage Industry Takes the Lead in Enabling PET Plastic Recycling

In a ground-breaking initiative, leading players in Uganda’s beverages industry have joined forces to establish a Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO). This is in a joint effort to self-regulate post-consumer  (polyethylene phthalate) PET recycling. Coca-Cola Beverages Uganda (CCBU), Mukwano Industries, Harris International, Uganda Breweries Limited, and Crown Beverages (Pepsi) signed a letter of intent, demonstrating their commitment to creating a sustainable and circular economy for plastic waste. This collaborative effort was facilitated by the Greater Kampala PET Plastic Recycling Partnership. The partnership’s goal is to foster collaboration among stakeholders to improve the recycling value chain, shift behaviours and attitudes towards recycling, and develop recycling policies.

Plastic pollution lake Victoria
Plastic pollution represents a growing risk for the environment in Uganda, like this example of a plastic bottle at the shores of Lake Victoria shows. Copyright: GIZ

Responsibilities of the Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO)

The PRO will be responsible for recruiting recyclers and subsidising recycling through contracts for all PET collected and recycled in the country; developing new high-value end-uses for reusable plastics (rPET); training and empowering collectors; and promoting PET collection and recycling through consumer awareness. Continuous consumer and public education and awareness activities are required to promote environmental responsibility and encourage PET recycling.

partners signing recycling agreement
Members signing the foundation of the Producer Responsibility Organisation. Copyright: GIZ

Transitioning to a Circular Economy

The establishment of a PRO in Uganda marks a significant step towards achieving a circular economy for PET plastic waste. By introducing a non-profit, industry-driven organization, the member firms are demonstrating their dedication to taking responsibility for post-consumer PET plastic after its useful life. The member firms will pay a monthly levy to the PRO which will use the money to support the collection and recycling of plastic waste. This creates a monetary value for post-consumer PET plastic waste which incentivises collection and recycling.

founding of plastic recycling organisation in Uganda
Founding members of Uganda’s first Producer Responsibility Organisation: Coca Cola Beverages Uganda, Mukwano Industries, Crown Beverages and Hariss. Copyright: Coca Cola Beverages Uganda

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

One of the key principles underlying this initiative is Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). EPR encourages companies that manufacture, import, or sell PET products and packaging to bear financial and physical responsibility for their products throughout their lifecycle. By incorporating the environmental costs associated with PET products into market costs, the burden of managing used packaging is shifted from the government to private industry. EPR was signed into legislation in Uganda with the National Environment Act, 2019 and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is currently developing the National Environment (Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging and related single-use- items) Regulations. These set a collaborative framework for the PRO to operationalize EPR and set annual recycling targets for the PRO.

The PRO’s goal is to collect from the environment and recycle all the post-consumer PET bottles the companies produce. Copyright: Coca Cola Beverages Uganda

Environmental and Economic Benefits of the PRO

Supporting the establishment of a circular economy for plastic waste brings both environmental and economic benefits. Recycling has the potential to create over 50 times as many jobs as landfills and incinerators. By investing in sustainable solutions, the beverage industry partners involved in the PRO are not only contributing to a cleaner environment but also driving economic growth and job creation.

A sustainable future

Through the establishment of the PRO, leading companies are taking responsibility for the entire lifecycle of their PET products, thereby minimizing their impact on the environment. By embracing a circular economy approach and promoting recycling, the partners in this initiative are pioneering sustainable practices and setting an example for the entire industry.

South African National Industrial Parks Summit 2023: Unleashing the Potential of Industrial Parks as Pillars of Economic Growth 

Collective Drive for Industrial Parks Revitalisation 

On 20 – 21 April 2023, a landmark event in the South African industrial scene was held: the National Industrial Parks Summit. A dynamic collaboration involving the Department of Trade Industry and Competition (the dtic), National Treasury, the National Cleaner Production Centre South Africa (NCPC-SA), and supported by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH-Natural Resources Stewardship Programme (GIZ-NatuReS) led to the convening of the National Industrial Parks Summit. The two-day summit under the theme “Positioning Industrial Parks as Engines of Growth, Industrialisation and Investments: Through a Reimagined Implementation Framework” served as a vibrant platform for over 150 stakeholders to exchange ideas, expertise and knowledge towards a new approach for the accelerated development of industrial parks in South Africa. 

The Impetus for Reimagined Industrial Parks 

In recent years, industrial parks have been beset with challenges ranging from vandalism, lack of basic services like water and electricity, infrastructure issues, to governance problems. This has led to significant job losses and a decline in their performance. Despite these hurdles, industrial parks hold tremendous potential as key nodes for large-scale economic development, employment, and as a catalyst for the country’s reindustrialisation agenda. 

At the event, Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ms Nomalungelo Gina, emphasised that “it is crucial for establishing a collective path to retain, sustain and grow investments and jobs through a Reimagined Industrial Implementation Framework while addressing critical outcomes such as social development, sustainability and economic growth.” 

Strategic Plans for Revitalizing Industrial Parks  

The Summit concluded with the adoption of key resolutions, which emerged from six breakaway Commissions. Each Commission focused on different aspects of the industrial park ecosystem. These resolutions include the establishment of a technical task team, comprising of key stakeholders, to develop the New Implementation Framework for the National Programme on Industrial Parks. 

Other key resolutions include the establishment of a rapid response team to urgently resolve bottleneck issues in parks, defining incentives for investors, catalysing partnerships and integrating eco-industrial development, resilience approaches and stewardship to provide a more attractive environment for investment. 

Building the Future of Industrial Parks 

Going forward, the dtic also plans to conduct district roadshows to raise awareness and build capacity on the importance of the industrial parks and their ecosystems to communities and other critical stakeholders. As they are instrumental for South Africa’s development pathway, initiatives like the National Summit offer a unique opportunity for sector stakeholders to collaboratively shape industrial parks into effective enablers for economic growth and job creation. 

In essence, the National Industrial Parks Summit marked a significant step in the collective effort to unlock the vast potential of South Africa’s industrial parks. The spirit of collaboration and the shared vision of the event’s contributors have set the stage for a more vibrant, resilient, and sustainable future for South Africa’s industrial landscape. 

For further information on the National Summit Resolutions visit the dtic website: click here  

Empowering Young Learners: The Success of the Young WASH Voice Campaign and WASH Hackathon in Lusaka 

Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) are fundamental elements of sustainable development and are critical for the health and well-being of individuals and communities. However, many children, teachers, and pupils still face challenges related to inadequate WASH facilities in their schools and communities. The lack of safe water, adequate sanitation, and hygiene facilities leads to poor health, absenteeism, and a compromised learning environment.

The Centre for Water, Sanitation and Rehabilitation (WASAReC) and the Chevening Alumni Association of Zambia (CAAZ) organized a WASH hackathon competition on 24th February 2023. The participating schools are part of the Green Schools Partnership Program (GSPP), an initiative implemented under the  Lusaka Water Security Initiative and supported by GIZ’s Natural Resources Stewardship (NatuReS) Programme. 

The hackathon was the culmination of the Young WASH Voice Campaign (YWVC), which aimed to build capacity in school-going children aged 10 to 17 years in climate-resilient WASH governance and to provide these young learners with a platform to identify and suggest WASH solutions in their schools and communities.  

Empowering Pupils to Contribute to WASH Solutions in Their Schools 

The campaign recruited 120 pupils from four schools in Lusaka: Chakunkula Combined School, Foxdale Secondary School, Mumana Primary School, and New Ng’ombe Primary School. Before the start of the hackathon, the participants attended guest lectures on climate-resilient and inclusive WASH in schools and communities for four weeks. This was followed by eight weeks of mentoring learners in the problem ideation process and public speaking to support them in identifying WASH problems and their sustainable solutions. Through this process, the learners also got prepared to communicate their ideas to different audiences effectively.  

Learning and problem identification focused on four thematic areas:  

  1. Inclusive sanitation and solid waste management  
  1. Menstrual hygiene management, hygiene promotion, and water security  
  1. Development of a school WASH Handbook covering these topics, games, and the WASH alphabet  
  1. Other materials developed included the WASH Hackathon Workbook, the Hackathon Process pamphlet, and posters.  

Empowering Change: The Key Results and Achievements of the WASH Hackathon 

The learners and teachers were pleased with the training received and had a chance to participate in the hackathon actively. With the lectures and mentorship, the pupils were able to identify their challenges and gain knowledge on WASH stewardship. The campaign equipped 120 learners with climate-resilient and inclusive WASH knowledge to become champions of change in their schools and communities.  

The outcome of the hackathon was the identification of several WASH challenges in each of the four schools. These included the lack of menstrual hygiene management facilities, water shortages in the dry season, unsafe toilets shared between older learners and pre-schoolers, vandalism of water facilities, and poor solid waste management in schools and communities.  

The hackathon provided an opportunity for learners to actively participate in identifying WASH challenges in their schools and communities and propose sustainable solutions. The documented priority challenges that the learners perceived can serve as a reference for WASH implementers when considering supporting schools in improving WASH service access and stewardship.  

Moreover, the hackathon achieved some results in addressing the identified challenges. Some schools received support to increase water storage capacity to mitigate water shortages, especially during the dry season. Additionally, some schools received support to run water quality tests and received chlorine donations to improve access to safe drinking water.  

The documented challenges can inform WASH implementers in their efforts to improve WASH service access and stewardship in schools and communities.  

Summary of the Achievements:  

  1. 120 learners equipped with climate-resilient and inclusive WASH knowledge for them to save as champions of change in their schools and communities.  
  2. Documented priority challenges as perceived by learners (service users) that WASH implementers can reference as they consider supporting schools in improving WASH service access and stewardship.   
  3. Some schools have already received support to increase water storage capacity to mitigate on water shortages in the school, especially during the dry season.   
  4. Some schools have been supported to run water quality tests and received chlorine donations to improve access to safe drinking water in the school.   

 Feedback from Teachers and Pupils: 

“The way we have been trained is good, but you should also train us in basic skills like how to fix a tap. Also, give sensitizations to all pupils on water security and how to take care of the water facilities so that there is no more vandalism.” Grade 10 pupil, Foxdale Secondary School.  
“I am confident that through this campaign, our learners are prepared to be the young WASH champions in their respective schools and communities. They will be able to champion good practices and be able to speak to be heard on WASH matters.” – Lusaka District Education Board Secretary (DEBS).  

Importance of Partnership: Achieving Significant Results in a Resource-Constrained Environment 

As the Mayor of Lusaka, Her Honour Ms. Chilando Chitangala noted, “Such programs are very good, as they engage children in important matters while they are young. I therefore urge the schools through the District Education Board Secretary to create WASH Clubs where this knowledge gained today may continue to be built up.” The success of the WASH hackathon and YWVC can be attributed to the collaboration and engagement of various partners who supported the initiative financially and by providing the necessary human resources and logistics. This partnership demonstrated the importance of coordination and collaboration, where each partner brought their strengths to the table, to achieve significant results even in a resource-constrained environment. 

Follow-up Activities: Strengthening WASH Provision in Schools and Communities 

The team behind the YWVC and WASH hackathon is already planning a follow-up event where participating schools will implement their suggested solutions. This event will provide an excellent opportunity to continue building on the knowledge gained during the Young WASH Voice Campaign and to further strengthen the partnership between various organizations involved in WASH provision. The team is looking for partners to sponsor this event. 

In conclusion, the WASH hackathon competition and the Young WASH Voice Campaign were highly successful in empowering young learners and building their capacity in climate-resilient WASH governance. The pupils were able to identify their WASH-related challenges and propose feasible solutions, demonstrating the importance of engaging children in important matters while they are young. The success of this initiative can be attributed to the collaboration and engagement of various partners, highlighting the importance of partnerships in achieving significant results even in a resource-constrained environment. 

Reviving Lake Hawassa’s Ecosystem: The Partnership’s Efforts to Combat Land Degradation

The Threat to Lake Hawassa’s Ecosystem

Ethiopian Lake Hawassa is a beautiful body of water surrounded by lush vegetation and wildlife. The lake serves as a critical source of livelihood for local communities, providing fish, irrigation water, and employment in tourisms for the surrounding areas. Unfortunately, the ecosystem of the lake has been under threat for years due to increased sedimentation, nutrient pollution, and waste accumulation. 

Protecting the ecosystem of Lake Hawassa requires collective action from different sectors. One major activity of the Protecting Lake Hawassa Partnership is planting trees to reduce soil erosion and restore the ecosystems in the catchment. Currently, 1.5 million tree seedlings of different local varieties are being raised in nurseries, and in the next three months, these will accompany the one million trees already planted under the partnership. 

Figure 1 and 2 show a tree nursery growing seven different types of trees for afforestation in the Lake Hawassa catchment. Copyright at GIZ / Hanno Führen

Planting Trees and Building Barriers: The Efforts of the Protecting Lake Hawassa Partnership

The harsh climate conditions and increasing periods of drought in the region call for a mix of drought-resistant trees, shrubs, and physical structures to reverse land degradation within the Lake Hawassa catchment. The Protecting Lake Hawassa Partnership is working towards this goal by planting trees and erecting physical barriers based on ecohydrology principles designed in collaboration with the local University of Hawassa. 

Reversing Land Degradation: The Success of Collaborative Action

One success story of the partnership is the increasing vegetation cover of a previously completely bare gully that drains into the lake. The partnership has demonstrated that it is possible to reverse even significant land degradation by joining forces and taking action. However, reforestation techniques must always respond to the local needs and conditions. 

Working with Local Communities: The Partnership’s Approach to Restoration

The partnership is working with farming communities upstream to restore bare and degraded landscapes by combining the construction of ditches to collect runoff rainwater with the planting of trees. Additionally, the community ensures that no livestock enters the protected area, allowing grass to grow and support the micro-climate needed for the trees to thrive. 

Protecting the ecosystem of Lake Hawassa is an ongoing effort that requires the involvement of multiple sectors and individuals. The progress made so far by the Protecting Lake Hawassa Partnership is a testament to what can be achieved through collective action and collaboration. By planting trees, erecting physical barriers, and working with local communities, the partnership is taking steps towards reversing the land degradation and preserving the ecosystem of the lake. 

A Call to Action: Protecting Lake Hawassa for Future Generations

It is inspiring to see what can be accomplished when different sectors come together to work towards a common goal. The Protecting Lake Hawassa Partnership is setting an example for others to follow in protecting the environment and securing a sustainable future for all. 

These pictures show the protection and afforestation of communal lands on the upper catchment of Lake Hawassa, with infiltration ditches and tree planting along the contour lines. Copyright at GIZ/Hanno Führen