Project Everest

Proposed Experiment

[COLLECTION] ERS Moonshooting

The following post is two different ideas, however are both about recycling.

First Idea:

In the idea ‘Recycling Education in Timor’ written by Jess, there was an offhand comment regarding ideas for recycling paper. In that post I suggested using paper for agriculture purposes, however have since thought of what I believe is a better idea that future teams could potentially investigate if ERS plans on recycling paper. Having spent the last month in Malawi, one thing I noticed is the amount of eggs consumed for breakfast every morning. The eggs come in egg trays, which are constructed from moulded pulp (these also make good floor mats for showers). Therefore, the idea for recycling paper is to sell paper onto egg tray or carton manufacturers. I suppose this would only work if Timor or Cambodia has the manufacturing capabilities and the locals eat a lot of eggs.

Second idea:

A huge issue surrounding recycling in developing countries, is the lack of education regarding environmental impacts. An emphasis is always put on the education to improve recycling rates, however I feel incentives are a far greater approach. As pointed out in the idea ‘Waste not, want not’ written by Paige, Malawi has a successful glass recycling program in place. Personally, I was shocked to find this in Malawi, especially given the lack of other waste management techniques. The recycling program works by returning glass bottles to local Carlsberg beer or alcohol stores. Carlsberg then pay 70 kwacha per bottle returned and even more for a plastic crate (I believe around 600 kwacha). A glass soft drink (companies such as Coca-Cola and Sobo sell drinks in glass bottles) can cost roughly 300 kwacha (55cents). This equates to Carlsberg paying nearing a quarter of the price. These glass bottles are then thoroughly cleaned and refilled for sale. The bottles have manufacturing dates printed on them, with some bottles found to be over 20 years old. By the companies cleaning the bottles themselves, a significant amount of money is saved by eliminating the glass manufacturing process or purchasing the glass from other suppliers. These savings are then passed onto consumers, since soft drinks in cans or plastic bottles cost upwards of 200 kwacha more.

We also found that if bottles are thrown out in the rubbish, the garbage collectors will go through the trash and collect the bottles anyway to receive further money. If these incentives were not in place, garbage collectors would not be going through rubbish to collect bottles because they want to help the environment. This is also seen here in South Australia, where locals will go through public and private bins to collect recycling for the 10cent buyback.

Anyway, getting to the point of the idea, would it be possible to set up a similar recycling program in Cambodia or Timor-Leste. This would involve getting in contact with drink suppliers and convince them to use recycled bottles rather than new bottles. If this could successfully be implemented and people are paid for returning bottles or the price of drinks are lowered, I believe the rate of recycling would be far greater. This would also enable ERS to target locals rather than just expats and businesses, therefore significantly reducing waste and having a far greater social impact.

Having never been to Timor-Leste or Cambodia or worked on ERS, I have no idea if any of this is feasible, therefore would love to hear any feedback.

edited on 16th January 2019, 10:01 by Rose Gooding

Jessica Hunter Mar 3, 2018

Hi Scott, I think this is a great idea!

I'm not sure on how often locals eat eggs in Timor or what the potential is for drink suppliers to use recycled bottles.

I do know that currently local people in Dili are able to recycle aluminium cans in exchange for money, and this is very popular. For example ERS had to store our cans out the back to prevent people from taking them. And yes, typically when educating people about recycling they may have a "what's in it for me?" response.

I still think that it's important for local people to understand what recycling is and why it's important, because a lot of people in Dili do care about the environment. And intrinsic motivation is very powerful, as well as extrinsic.

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Scott Jucius Mar 4, 2018

Hey Jess,

Yes I certainly believe that education is important and required in many developing and developed countries. Hopefully my post didn't come across as removing education, as that isn't what I meant. I think that if you get more people involved with recycling using incentives, then the education aspect will be easier due to an already greater local involvement.

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Paige Moult Mar 3, 2018

This is such a good idea! Do you think that it would work in Malawi? I guess it would depend on whether the eggs are imported or not, but it may be worth the next teams having a look to see where they come from.

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Scott Jucius Mar 4, 2018

Hey Paige,

A lot of different aspects would need to be researched to determine it's feasibility. E.g. do locals eat eggs or just mzungus from Australia, would manufacturing be cheaper using recyclables, where does manufacturing occur, does paper need to be chemically processed, can all forms of paper be used or just newspaper. With regards to future teams in Malawi looking into this, it would depend if PE are considering setting up ERS there.

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Liv Hendy Mar 5, 2018

Hey Scott,
I worked on FarmEd in Cambodia but I know that Austen Hunt's ERS Feb team set up a glass distribution collection service with the breweries in Siem reap sounds really similar to your second idea. Check out his post by Austen's team member Robert it's something that is in the process of being set up in Cambodia with EOI's signed with multiple businesses and breweries there :)

Reply 3

Sam Swain Apr 27, 2018

Hey Scott, we found that most of the aluminium cans were picked up and picked out as there was a good market incentive at the present time, worth around 75c per kg. So in part it is already happening as there is a monetary incentive in place.
The other thing is that the major (or only) glass bottle producer for beer is moving the aluminium cans (at least they were) as there were too many glass breakages between transport.
The other issue you would have is Timor has a high import rate of goods, so how that would work for all of those imported products I don't know.

NSW, last year introduced a Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) in a bid to reduce the amount of litter, there were issues with delivery, but the market incentive works. It would just depend on the size of the incentive and avoiding corruption of the system itself.

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Andrew Vild Jul 2, 2018

Status label added: Proposed Experiment

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