Project Everest


[Problem] ERS Timor July 2019

Lean Phase: Problem


Aim - This post depicts the key issues ascertained in Timor-Leste on the presence of waste and the current situation for waste management. The aim of Everest Recycling Solutions is to help alleviate these issues by sustainable waste management solutions. Issues of poor waste management include an abundance of waste on the streets, plastics ending up in the ocean, and burning plastics as a means of disposal.


Big Picture - 


Everest Recycling Solutions endeavours to address UN Sustainable Development Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Worldwide, the issue of excess resource consumption and inappropriate disposal of waste is mounting: single-use materials, particularly plastics, are almost unavoidable in the packaging and distribution of goods. And yet, both single-use and recyclable wastes are being directed to landfill at alarming rates with little regard for their ability to be repurposed. There is a global trend of mindless consumption of plastics, thus negatively impacting our environment. Environmental issues include microplastics accumulating in food chains, toxic chemicals released in ecosystems as plastics degrade, and plastics disrupting natural habitats. In addition, there are multiple flow-on effects, such as the presence of waste in public places impeding the growth of tourism and creates feelings of hopelessness and decreased morale amongst locals for the state of their neighbourhoods.


In Timor, the issue of waste accumulation and inadequate waste management looks like this:


Problem statement:

Restaurant/hotel owners feel sad, frustrated, disappointed and angry when they see waste poorly managed and accumulating in Dili.


Problems experienced in Dili, Timor-Leste:

Waste on the streets

Waste, both recyclable and non-recyclable, is present in large volumes on streets throughout Timor-Leste. Through the use of surveys, people in Dili have stated that they feel sad and disappointed when they see waste on the streets, as reflected by 45% of the 69 restaurant and hotel owners/managers surveyed who stated that this is a major pain point for them. The presence of waste on streets therefore has ramifications for the aesthetic of Timor-Leste; the ‘eye-sore’ of uncontained rubbish in public places decreases morale of locals, as well as having the capacity to stunt the flow and growth of tourism in the Timor, with consequences for multiple businesses and livelihoods who are dependent on the influx of tourists. 


Plastic in the ocean

Waste, in particular plastic, is becoming increasingly present in waterways and oceans. Feelings of frustration and sadness have been reflected by locals in Dili with 16% of the 69 restaurant and hotel owners/managers saying that plastic in the oceans is a major pain point for them. These feelings are reflective of both the source of rubbish in Dili as well as the flow-on effects. Uncontained rubbish in Dili originates from both the dumping of rubbish in the streets and gutters, eventually ending up in major waterways, as well as rubbish dumped or inadequately contained on beaches. Additionally, the issue of microplastics accumulating in marine life and the toxic degradation of plastics is of major concern.


Burning plastic

One of the most common waste management methods employed by businesses and families in Timor-Leste is the burning of rubbish. This is done indirectly through the dumping of waste at Tibar landfill, which was the case for 49% of people surveyed stating that their rubbish is either taken to Tibar by themselves or the municipal service. Feelings of anger and fear have been reflected by locals in Dili with 4% of the 69 restaurant and hotel owners/managers surveyed explaining that burning waste is a major pain point for them. This stems from the fact that plastic, often the primary constituent of municipal waste in Dili, emits toxic substances when burned - these include dioxins, which are carcinogenic to humans and animals. The burning of waste also takes place on the premises or on the side of the road of businesses, thus exposing patrons and staff of the surveyed restaurants and hotels, as well as locals, to smoke and toxic fumes. Across a sample distance of 200 metres, 4 different premises were observed to have been burning rubbish either on the side of the road or on their property.

Pain points

The remaining pain points out of the 69 restaurant and hotel owners/managers surveyed are:

  • 12% said various problems with current collection services is a major pain point
  • 4% said that burning waste is a major pain point
  • 3% said the smell
  • 3% said lack of education and awareness
  • 3% said waste in the drainage system 


Offer testing was conducted over two months (January and February 2019). 


Next Moves:

  • Currency testing for hotels and restaurants 
  • Offer and currency testing engineering and construction companies customer segment
Tagged users
edited on 24th July 2019, 23:07 by Emily Collins

Lucy Preiss 6 months ago

Status label added: Problem

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