At least 110 tonnes of single-use plastic items in the country have been collected for recycling under a new initiative that started two months ago.
In 2019, Rwanda passed a law prohibiting the manufacturing, importation use and sale of single-use plastic items in Rwanda.
The items include single-use plastic packaging materials for food and other products, plastic straws, plastic spoons and forks, plastic knives, plastic cups, dishes and balloons among others.
“We are working hard to enforce the ban on single use plastic and introduce alternatives. With the Private Sector Federation and Rwanda’s e-waste recycling facility, we have set up an initiative that collects such used items,” Juliet Kabera, the Director General of Rwanda Environment Management Authority, said in a thread of tweets on Monday August 15.
The plastics collected, she said, are first crushed and then transformed into pellet fuel for export.
Pellet fuels are biofuels made from compressed organic matter or biomass. Pellets can be made from any one of five general categories of biomass: industrial waste and co-products, food waste, agricultural residues, energy crops, and untreated lumber.
“We will be expanding this private sector-led initiative to secondary cities in September. I encourage everyone to keep Rwanda clean by properly disposing of waste, especially single use plastics,” Kabera said.
She said that those who have any plastics, can drop them at collection centres that have been set up in Kicukiro (near Zion Temple/UNILAK), Gasabo (Gisozi Gakiriro, Gatsata near Nyabugogo Taxi Park and Gasanze near the petrol station) while in Nyarugenge, collection centres have been set up in Muhima, Nyamirambo and Nyabugogo).
Under the initiative, a kilogramme of plastics brought at the collection centre is bought at Rwf200 as an incentive.
This, the officials said, will ensure sustainability but also a source of income for those who collect single-use plastics.
“Financing is critical. This initiative driven by the private sector federation and REMA is funded by manufacturers who contribute Rwf100 per kg of plastic imported. Special authorisation to import plastics is issued after fees are paid, which support the recovery and recycling of the used plastics,” she said.
The federation has pledged to contribute Rwf690.9 million for collecting, transportation, disposal and recycling of single-use plastics in the next five years.
In March this year, The Fifth Session of the United Nations Environmental Assembly on Wednesday in Nairobi Kenya, adopted a historic resolution to end plastic pollution.
The resolution, which was co-authored by Rwanda and Peru, sets in motion the development of an international, legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution.