[FEB 19] [REPURPOSE] Experiment Results - Outsourcing Options: Glass

Reference to the Experiment Design Post


Lean Phase: Solution, Customer segment


Assumption: There is a want/need for collected glass within Dili/surrounding areas



Glass has been a very challenging waste material to recycle within Timor-Leste. Exporting glass in bottle form for recycling is not financially viable as it has a low density and a very low price per tonne. A means to export glass is in crushed form, this has a much higher density and fetches a far better price per tonne. The price for crushed glass (also known as culet) can vary depending on the purity of the glass culet, if the produced culet has a purity below 95% you can no longer sell it and will need to pay for it to be dumped. Please find more information on exporting here.


Timor-Leste has a local glass crusher in Dili, they require a very large minimum amount of glass (25 tonne) in order to use the crushing equipment. Currently, this quantity of glass is not viable for ERS as we don’t have the means to obtain or store this amount of glass, thus ruling this option out for glass for now. Our team looked into the costing for producing a glass processing facility in Dili, this process is very expensive to set up. The research was done by contacting a company in China that manufactures production lines to find out how much the low end facility would cost.


Botir Matak has collected glass from ERS in the past, however, only small quantities and irregularly. Our team recently regained contacted with Hilly from Botir Matak. A verbal agreement was made between Hilly and ERS and a Letter of Agreement drafted. The LOA stated that Hilly would purchase a small amount of bottles from us regularly. This however fell through when Hilly no longer wanted to pay for the glass bottles.


A meeting was organised with Heineken Brewery to discuss the potential of them recycling glass at their factory. This meeting took an unexpected turn and it was discovered that their focus is instead on plastic recycling as Heineken does not currently have plans to recycle glass. Heineken could be a viable avenue for plastics recycling for ERS to explore in the future. It is possible Heineken may phase out glass completely as its often breaks during transportation.

A red light was obtained as we could not find a viable solution to glass. Repurpose found a lot of options that were deemed not financially viable, ruling them out and closing the door. We hit a block on what to do in regards to recycling glass on a small-medium scale


Validated Learning:


Our results did not match the hypothesis of our experiment. Our findings from this experiment show that for the amount of glass that ERS can realistically collect, there is no need/want for it within Dili. There are only a few small scale projects that using repurposed glass within Dili and for the small amount they require they can find themselves. For large scale crushing we simply cannot provide the volumes required, as the storage cost for the quantity needed would outweigh the cost of the recycled product.


The lean phases of this experiment need to be revisited (Solution and Customer segment) as we still need to find a solution to the waste glass and a client.


Next Move:  


This experiment is to be reassessed to find a sustainable and financially viable option for repurposing or outsourcing glass.

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