Technology and plastic recycling: Where are we in Zambia, Africa

Bupe Getrude Mwanza, Charles Mbohwa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Plastic waste recycling continues to contribute to sustainable management of resources. Over the past 60 years, the manufacture of plastic packaged products has increased. Majority of plastic products manufactured for the packaging industry have substantive short life spans. These observations indicate the current utilisation of resources (petroleum) for the manufacture of plastic materials is unsustainable. Recycling is one element of the 3Rs (reduce, recycle, reuse) that continues to contribute to resource utilisation in the plastic industry. Opportunities to reduce quantities of Plastic Solid Wastes (PSWs) disposal, carbon dioxide emissions and oil usage are provided through recycling. Despite the existence of plastic recycling for many decades, quantities that are recycled vary contextually depending on the application and plastic type. In many developed economies, high recycling rates for PSWs can be attributed to a number of factors such as technology, regulations and value chain systems. Advanced technologies for recycling such mechanical, feedstock, chemical, pyrolysis and glycolysis have contributed to high recycling rates in developed economies. However, recycling rates in developing economies are still low and a number of factors have contributed. The purpose of this research was; to assess the current status of technology in the industry in Zambia. The objectives of the research were to; determine the types of plastics recycled, products manufactured from recycled PSWs, the types of technology used in recycling PSWs and the technological drivers for improving recycling. Using the database of companies listed by the Manufacturing Sector of Zambia and the Google Search Engine, a list of plastic manufacturing and recycling companies in Zambia were identified. A descriptive research was conducted since the research required understanding the current status on the subject matter. A total of 30 companies were identified in Zambia and a structured questionnaire was designed and distributed to companies using sampling without replacement. 22 companies answered the questionnaires. The results reveal that, plastic products are manufactured by 95.5% of the companies and only 45.5% recycle PSWs. More than 42000 tons of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), Polyethylene (PE, LLDPE, HDPE) and Polypropylene (PP) is recycled per annual. The major recycling technology used by the companies is mechanical recycling and majority of PSWs are recycled into plastic bottles and containers. Assessment of the technological drivers for improving recycling, majority indicated ensuring material applicability in recycling processes. This research presents the current state on the application of different types of recycling technologies for plastic recycling as well as providing the way forward on improving recycling from a technological perspective. To plastic recycling companies, the research has proved insights on the different types of recycling technologies for consideration. To policy makers and future entrepreneurs in the field of sustainability, the research presents insights on the different forms of recyclable plastics and the technology that can be implemented. Finally, the research shows that, there is need to improve on the application of advanced recycling technologies in plastic recycling companies of Zambia.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationManaging Technology for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth - 28th International Conference for the International Association of Management of Technology, IAMOT 2019
EditorsKaruna Jain, Shirish Sangle, Ruchita Gupta, Jinil Persis, Mukundan R.
PublisherExcel India Publishers
Pages964-971
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9789388237543
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event28th International Conference for the International Association of Management of Technology: Managing Technology for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth, IAMOT 2019 - Mumbai, India
Duration: 7 Apr 201911 Apr 2019

Publication series

NameManaging Technology for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth - 28th International Conference for the International Association of Management of Technology, IAMOT 2019

Conference

Conference28th International Conference for the International Association of Management of Technology: Managing Technology for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth, IAMOT 2019
Country/TerritoryIndia
CityMumbai
Period7/04/1911/04/19

Keywords

  • Developing Country
  • Recycling
  • Sustainability
  • Technology
  • Zambia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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