In Senegal, a start-up recycles waste to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Par Ibrahima DIALLO
4 December 2023 / 10:00

Sorting your rubbish to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? This is the challenge that a Senegalese start-up has been working on for nine years. In a city of more than a million inhabitants, where rubbish bins end up, at best, loose on landfill sites, sorting and recycling waste is a real challenge.

Instead of the familiar bin lorry, there's a white pick-up loaded with hessian sacks. The aim is to collect recyclable waste from around ten member companies. "They come in with one bag each for plastic, aluminium and metal waste," explains Alphouseyni Bodian, the collections manager.

In the courtyard of this design office, there are three large bins: organic waste, paper, plastics and aluminium. But inside, everything has been mixed together.

"It's always complicated. If you put a dustbin in a business, you'll never get satisfaction from sorting. So what we can do is go back and do awareness-raising sessions," he adds. "When we talked about sorting, people didn't understand us.

Do another awareness-raising workshop and sort it all out again. Even for those who sign up to the start-up's service, separating this waste is still not easy. But for the founder of Ciprovis, Abdoul Bakhy Mbacke, enormous progress has been made in 9 years: "In 2014, when we started the business, people only cared about the practical side of collection because the waste came out of their homes. What's more, when we talked about sorting, people didn't understand us".

With more than 1,000 households and around a hundred member businesses in Dakar, as well as in the towns of Mbour and Thiès, the start-up is going from strength to strength. Since 2017, it has been developing its own recycling solutions: "We turn paper and cardboard into egg trays. All aluminium and metal is transformed into kitchen utensils".

That leaves plastic, the main challenge. Polypropylene can be used again to make furniture, but PET, which makes up 70% of plastic bottles, cannot be recycled anywhere in Africa for lack of technology.

Léa-Lisa Westerohff

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