“We are proud to have conducted a detailed assessment of wastesheds in four countries, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam in partnership with The Circulate Initiative. The summary report and the four country reports provide Governments, investors, brands as well as polymer producers and plastic processors around the world with a detailed understanding of supply chains for secondary plastics at a local level. The outlined interventions to improve supply chains provide a range of actions to grow circular supply chains, improve livelihoods and reduce environmental impacts.”
Claudia Amos, Technical Director
The Circulate Initiative selected Anthesis as the lead research partner to deliver the ‘Mapping Local Plastic Recycling Supply Chains: Insights from Selected Cities in India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam’ reports.
An estimated 140 million tonnes of plastic waste have accumulated in the world’s oceans and rivers. If no steps are taken to address the growing crisis, annual leakage into the environment is projected to double to 44 million tonnes a year by 2060.
While there is a range of existing studies on national waste flows, few explore the plastic supply chains in more localised contexts. A better understanding of localised plastic supply chains is essential to developing adequate solutions.
A detailed assessment of 12 wastesheds across India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam to map local plastic recycling supply chains and their economics as well as formal and informal infrastructure was conducted. Country reports were produced to help build a better understanding of existing practices and systems and enable stakeholders to identify where improvements could be made. Anthesis was supported by in-country partners to carry out the local interviews. The in-country partners were Evergreen Labs for Vietnam, PRO India for India, Rebel (with Waste4Change) for Indonesia, and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) for Thailand.
The research highlights opportunities to scale existing plastic recycling and create circular economy solutions. Informal workers are playing a critical role in plastic waste management and recycling but are also limiting scale up and are impacted by the lack of pricing transparency. In megacities such as Delhi or Bangkok, or cities with developing plastic recycling supply chains such as Makassar and Da Nang, informal workers remain an integral part of the recycling value chain. However, the majority of plastic waste is collected by the public or formal sector and send to landfill or waste to energy. Identifying interventions to scale up plastics recycling will involve finding new ways of collaboration for both the formal and informal sectors.
Solutions cannot be achieved by one organisation or individual in isolation. Change will require dedication, collaboration, and cohesively planned investment from multiple influencers of local plastic recycling supply chains.