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SIG and Plastic Bank launch blockchain project to propel Egypt’s circular economy

#SIG and Plastic Bank launch blockchain project to propel Egypt’s circular economy

14 Mar 2024 — SIG, alongside Plastic Bank and the German development agency (GIZ), has unveiled a project leveraging blockchain technology to address Egypt’s packaging pollution and bolster the livelihoods of local waste collectors.

The initiative aims to overhaul Egypt’s recycling infrastructure while providing security and incentives for waste collection members. The project is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through its funding program “develoPPP” and the initiative “Decent Work for a Just Transition.”

Abdelghany Eladib, president and general manager for India, Middle East and Africa at SIG, says: “Our new partnership goes one step further in accelerating our progress toward a circular economy. Extending social waste collection and recycling programs like this one in Egypt will help to achieve our goals and is a blueprint for future programs.”

“By establishing a recycling system for beverage cartons in the Greater Cairo area and beyond, SIG is focused on reducing the environmental impact and creating a market for recycled paper.”

Laying EPR groundwork
The partners detail that Egypt grapples with 95 million tons of waste annually, yet only 60% of this waste is collected, with a mere 20% adequately disposed of or recycled. The absence of a formalized waste collection and recycling system exacerbates the issue. However, the collaboration between SIG, GIZ Egypt and Plastic Bank aims to catalyze positive change.

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Beyond individual empowerment, the project is laying the groundwork for an extended producer responsibility (EPR) model in Egypt. The initiative aligns with Egypt’s Waste Management Regulatory Authority’s efforts to integrate recycling into the legislative framework by tracking and streamlining waste collection and recycling, including beverage cartons.

Over the next three years, the partners endeavor to collect 700 metric tons of beverage cartons and uplift the lives of approximately 1,000 local waste collectors. The Plastic Bank app, backed by its secure blockchain platform, ensures transparency and traceability in waste collection, empowering collectors to convert discarded materials into revenue streams.

Waste collectors log each collected item through the app, earning incentives directly deposited into their digital wallets. Additionally, they gain access to social benefits, including health insurance, work and life insurance, digital connectivity, grocery vouchers and educational supplies. Moreover, collectors receive comprehensive training and personal safety equipment to safeguard their well-being while on the job.

Edited by Radhika Sikaria

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