Organisation: EcoAct Tanzania

Cycle: 2019 Tanzania

Type: Climate mitigation

Sector: Waste management

Status: Shortlisted

Stage: In action

We have developed a chemical free, energy conserving plastic extrusion technology to recycle and transform plastic garbage and packaging materials into durable plastic timbers. Plastic timbers are an affordable alternative to wood timbers, hence reduces the need for building material manufactured from wood, helping to preserve forests, cut down on deforestation and further mitigation of climate change.

Every year more than 9 million tons of plastic garbage end up in our oceans causing threat to marine life, and by the year 2050 there could be more plastics than fish in the ocean, Plastic pollution doesn't just hurt marine species. It's also harmful to people. As plastic debris floats in the seawater, it absorbs dangerous pollutants like PCBs, DDT and PAH. These chemicals are highly toxic and have a wide range of chronic effects, including endocrine disruption and cancer-causing mutations. Practically solid waste management is one of the environmental problems that most African cities are struggling to manage. As the number of residents in most cities is increasing so is the production of solid waste. Very unfortunate, effective environmental and sustainable measures to manage the waste are lacking. For example, Tanzania generates about 14,800 tones waste every day of which 48% is plastic waste. Plenty of these solid wastes can be found everywhere within the city and around homes or streets ending up in the oceans.

On the other hand, deforestation is a big problem. In Tanzania our forests are fast depleting, the growing demand for timber in building and construction activities is putting a lot of pressure on the country’s forests reserves and natural forests around Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania loses about 400,000 hectares of forest every year).  If nothing is done, Tanzania would suffer irreparable environmental damage. But we realized that we could produce an alternative product to timber that was strong, longer lasting, cheaper and environmentally sustainable. We could definitely profit from the profitable timber market while helping to save forests and preventing plastic waste and packaging materials ending into oceans.

Our Business Model involves designing, manufacturing and direct delivering and selling of plastic timbers to real estate developers, advertising agencies, domestic home developers, infrastructure contractors, road contractors, wildlife conservation agencies, farmers and furniture developers.