Strengthening Partnership on Sustainable Plastic Life-cycle Management Project
Maseru, 12 November 2021 – UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture (MTEC) are implementing a project on strengthening partnership on sustainable plastic life-cycle management in Lesotho. The aim of the project is to complement efforts of the Government of Lesotho in encouraging behavioural change for responsible production and consumption patterns in response to (SDG 12). In addition, the project is aimed to educate Basotho on the impacts of plastic on the environment, methods in which plastic can be used to create livelihoods, as well as finding alternatives to plastic use. The implementation of this project has been realized through working with a broad range of partners to agree on a menu of possible solutions including refusing and reducing of single use plastic in retail, commercial and corporate spaces and enabling the re-use, repurposing, and recycling of plastic waste.
As part of the ongoing initiatives for implementing sustainable plastic life-cycle management in Lesotho, UNDP and MTEC will host a Circular Economy Innovations Expo on the 24th and 25th November 2021 at Sefika Complex to expose and market products in creative repurposing and recycling sector. Additionally, the expo will assist in providing potential solutions to some of the following challenges encountered by circular economy entrepreneurs in Lesotho:
- Access to market – In most cases consumers have perception that products made from recycles materials are of low value for their consumption. This hinders products acceptance into the market.
- Lack of equipment and other resources – Processing of waste used to manufacture products requires appropriate machinery to produce high quality inputs, which is often costly and not easily accessible. In addition, majority of products are handmade, also leading to low quantities of production.
- Quality of products – Some entrepreneurs have basic creativity which does not warrant a greater quality of products. There is a need for capacity building on products value add to improve of the quality of the outcomes.
The Circular Economy Innovations Expo intends to (1). create a platform for products exposure, market access and stimulate innovativeness particularly amongst the women, youth and people living disability for circular economic solutions to a waste challenge in Lesotho, (2). promote awareness on plastic waste as a means of livelihood and job creation. (3). attract potential avenues for investment and partnerships with different actors through the Innovation Expo. (4). create a portfolio of local solutions that may be subjected to experimentation/testing for potential scaling, (5). promote and generate acceptance of use of recycled products.
Under the Plastic Life-Cycle Management project, UNDP, MTEC and other stakeholders have already executed series of engagements at grassroots level since the project inception in June 2021. The engagements have assisted to unearth existing innovations under the circular economy, a sector that is mostly dominated by youth, women and people living with disability. While the sector has a potential to provide diverse innovation opportunities, challenges remain upon business operations model which hinders growth leading to entrepreneurs finding it difficult to establish themselves and earn a considerable income.
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