Save Forests by Transforming Post consumer Plastic Garbage into Durable Plastic Timbers.

Save Forests by Transforming Post consumer Plastic Garbage and Packaging Materials into Durable and long lasting Plastic Timbers.

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Eligibility Criteria

  • I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.
  • I am 18 years old or older.

Initiative's representative name

Christian Mwijage

Initiative's representative date of birth

14th October 1985

Initiative's representative gender

  • Man

Headquarters location: country

  • Tanzania

Headquarters location: city

Daressalaam

Where are you making a difference?

Tanzania

Website or social media url(s)

www.ecoact.co.tz

Date Started

February / 2017

Project Stage

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working toward the next level of expansion)

Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?

  • €50k - €100k

Organization Type

  • For-profit

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

I got interested in waste management right after university. On arrival back home, I got disgusted by the fact that little had changed in terms of waste disposal in our city, Waste was still not collected and heaps of garbage still littered city streets and open fields. Moreover I was also disappointed by the destruction of the Forests around Mount Kilimanjaro, due to increase in building and construction activities. With the zeal to make a difference I passionately embarked on a journey to use my skills to develop and employ innovative solutions in tackling the waste crisis facing Tanzania.

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Every year more than 9 million tons of plastic garbage end up in our oceans causing threat to marine life, On the other hand, Deforestation is a big problem; a 2018 report by UNEP estimated Earth's total forest area continues to decrease at about 13 million hectares per year. So we realized that If we could produce an alternative product to timber, we could definitely profit from the profitable timber market while helping to save forests.

3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We have developed a chemical free technology to recycle and transform post consumer plastic garbage and packaging materials into durable and long lasting plastic timbers, Plastic timbers are 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. The plastic timbers, which are ideal product for building, construction and furniture making, are normally made in 10ft on average and shaped either round or square. Our technology is environmental friendly, that uses natural profiled waxy ( from the bees) inversion in the plastic extrusion process set at different temperatures, the technology helps plastic materials of different polymers reach their melting point quickly while retaining their original stability and strength, hence low energy consumption resulting to low production costs, enabling production of plastic timber which are 32% less compared to price of wood timber, With our technology we are simply pioneering the chemical free and energy conserving plastic extrusion technology in Africa.

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

Normally the challenge with the plastic extrusion process is it takes time, which increases energy consumption and increases production costs, this situation has been a major challenge to many plastic extrusion facilities in different parts of the world, hence this has forced those facilities to use chemicals to speed up the extrusion process, these chemicals in turn pollutes the environment. We have developed a chemical free technology called “Waxy ӀӀ technology” which solves both issues, it uses natural substance – natural profiled waxy which are inverted during the extrusion process set at different temperature, helps plastic materials of different polymers reach their melting point quickly while retaining their original stability.

5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?

We are working with 19 youth networks which provides us with plastic waste they collect in daily bases, most of these groups are composed from marginalized communities and they work with as as our main waste suppliers.

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

We have launched, “Garbage Medical Insurance” which is a micro health insurance program which uses garbage as a financial resource. With this program, the community and uninsured poor slum dwellers are able to pay for health cover, drugs and other clinical services by using plastic garbage as payment to an insurance scheme. While improving healthcare access and sanitation, we aim to reduce high child mortality rate in slums by 35% and reduce by 65% deaths among expectant women caused by home-based deliveries and post-natal bleeding. We measure the social impact of our project by looking on to the amount of waste plastics withdrawn from the environment to be used to manufacture plastic timbers and we also measure the social impact of the project by looking on the number of poor families that have acquired the medical insurance on exchange for their “plastic garbage “as we are looking to provide 1,000 medical access insurance cards to 1,000 families by December 2020

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

We are currently seeking to raise US$ 140,000 in financing to acquire high capacity technology, capable of producing 200 plastic timbers per day to be able to meet the current growing demand. We plan to push branding and sales efforts countrywide, to able to sell in our Country most of our products that we produce and the remaining to start to push to the regional markets in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Southern Sudan. We will also introduce other applications for our plastic waste recycling technology to manufacture roofing tiles and pavements.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?

We enhance waste management in urban areas through recycling, over 360 tons has been lifted from landfills in the past 12 months, we promote environmental conservation through reducing the need of timber for deforestation also we reduce carbon emissions from landfills and from deforestation. We produce long-lasting, insect resistant, theft free and thermal resistant products that are low cost for consumers, creating income and replication potential as local value chain from bio-waste that is generating jobs and increasing customer's disposable

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Our project permanently withdraws an item which is considered to be a waste and converts into a useful product which is highly on demand. This way we provide sanitation to slum areas where blocked drainage and sewers due to plastic is common, we employ locals in plastic waste collection where they earn US$ 5.75/day, we pay those employed in our plant at 1.3 times the average national wage. Being a for-profit social enterprise, we are economically sustainable through sales of our plastic timbers. The market loves the plastic alternatives because they do not rot, are not affected by termites hence last longer, and are easy to work with as they can be cut, drilled and nailed just like wood timber.

10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

Our current team has , 2 Technical engineers with Mechanical engineering background and 4 years experience, 1 Business Management personnel with 6 years experience, 1 environmental engineer with 8 years experience.

11. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media

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Photo of Sebastião Alves

Although it is not my area, I really liked your initiative in doing something that could replace wood. Even better when the material used is the plastic waste we find in all parts of the world. I congratulate you and your team for the initiative and the courage to work with these materials. To minimize the effects of energy costs, I suggest using solar energy in the extrusion process and other parts in the production process.

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