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Another boost to end dumping and encourage ‘great’ recycling ideas

Sustainable food packaging producer Huhtamaki and international charity WasteAid have launched a global partnership to drive community-level circular economy innovation around the globe.

The EUR 900 000 partnership will boost local recycling initiatives in Vietnam, India and South Africa over a two-year period. To mark its centenary, Huhtamaki is donating a total of EUR 3 million to global sustainability initiatives with a local impact.

The Huhtamaki-funded project will support WasteAid to deliver education and training on waste management and circular systems. It will enable the charity to work with key stakeholders in Johannesburg (South Africa), Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) and Guwahati (Assam, India) to accelerate and amplify local solutions that create value and reduce waste and pollution – in line with the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.

Making a difference

‘The shift towards a circular economy offers vast potential for global development and WasteAid is proud to be at the forefront of that change,’ says the charity’s new ceo Ceris Turner-Bailes.

‘We want to make a difference, where it matters most,’ adds Huhtamaki president Charles Héaulmé. ‘We want to support local communities concretely by providing education and training on waste management and circular systems. Delivering on our ambitious sustainability agenda requires collaboration across the value chain.’

A new strategy

Héaulmé is impressed by the results from a WasteAid project in the Gambia in West Africa where trainees are turning plastic waste into useful products like paving tiles. ‘Very quickly the local team prevented a million plastic bags from being burned or reaching the ocean. A year after, 55 families continue to collect, sort and process plastic waste, reducing pollution and carbon emissions and protecting the health of their community in Gunjur. We will be learning from our partnership with WasteAid and will share our insights with global stakeholders as part of our sustainability journey to deliver on our 2030 strategy.’

Cloud-based learning

The two-year programme will focus on educating diverse local communities via a cloud-based learning platform, networking events and training programmes. It will seek to inspire innovative sustainable solutions through local competitions.

WasteAid will bring its expertise in sustainable waste management to share skills, develop business ideas and create end-markets for recyclable materials, driving innovation and establishing a new generation of green entrepreneurs locally.

The project will accelerate knowledge transfer and cultivate ‘great ideas’ within communities most affected by poor waste management, says WasteAid. ‘Developing alternatives to dumping and burning of waste makes homes more liveable, reduces health problems and builds stronger local economies.’

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