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agrofood & plastprintpack Conference
Driving plastic recycling towards a circular economy
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query_builder 12:30 - 14:00
card_travel Panel
mic English
Driving plastic recycling towards a circular economy
According to Breaking the Plastic Wave report by Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2020), circular economy could generate USD 200 billion saving annually, cut GHG emissions by 25%, and create 700,000 jobs by 2040. The question is how can industry, government and other key actors in Nigeria translate this potential to tangible results as we race towards achieving sustainability targets?

While the production of virgin plastic is projected to double by 2040, only about 14% - 18% of plastics (mainly PET and HDPE) is recycled globally today. In addition, COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt the waste value chain with significant volume of medical and plastic waste, notwithstanding the steady rise in global population and plastic pollution across industries. Legislations to tackle plastic pollution such as bans, and plastic reduction have largely focused mostly on improving waste management. Though these measures are commendable, in isolation they are unable to address the menace that these valuable materials pose for the environment after their shelf-life.

Given these stark realities, it is apparent that plastic end-of-life challenge need more than just technology, conventional methods of waste collection and mechanical recycling. In fact, to accelerate the move to a circular economy for plastic, the need to shift mindsets from the “dispose-collect-recycle” viewpoint and amplify efforts through coordinated and ambitious approach from all key actors in the value chain is crucial.

Circular economy approach to plastic will drive systems change that prioritizes leveraging substitute (where possible), spur innovation and business models that eliminate waste and enhance resource efficiency thus ensuring that plastic doesn’t end up as waste on landfill, incinerator, or in the environment. This could also potentially improve recycling by complementing existing mechanical processes and infrastructure for positive social, economic and environmental impacts. That said, promoting reuse, creating a market for recycled materials, redesigning products with end of life in mind will be essential for circular economy, the environment and the economy at large.

This session seeks to explore circular solutions and new applications pushing recovery of plastic waste by indigenous and multinational companies in Nigeria and the likelihood to scale them for the Nigerian market.
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