“Anthesis was an invaluable partner in data gathering, analysis, and facilitating discussions among various stakeholders. The study showed their in-depth understanding of the requirements for an efficient plastics recycling system.”
Research Director, The Circulate Initiative
Plastic recycling supply chains are often local and unique as they rely on many informal transactions driven by local conditions, traditions, and cultures, as well as local and regional infrastructure and markets.
Very few existing studies on national waste flows explore the plastic supply chains in a more localised context.
Recognising this need The Circulate Initiative selected Anthesis to be the lead research partner to conduct a detailed assessment of wastesheds in India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.
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 aims to create a better understanding of the wastesheds and suggests potential interventions to grow plastics recycling and reduce environmental impact by:
- Evaluating the plastic waste flows through the formal and informal waste sector.
- Mapping the supply chains for plastic waste at a local level, including the key actors, infrastructure, and influencing regulations.
- Tracking the economics of plastic recycling at each stage of the local plastic supply chains and the key factors influencing prices.
- Identifying interventions to improve supply chains and increase plastic recycling.
The eight-month study undertaken in 2022 focused on PET, LDPE, HDPE, and PP plastics in the municipal waste, generated primarily by households and small businesses, as this is where many of the local environmental issues occur and where there appears to be the most potential to scale up plastic waste collection and recycling.
Information regarding plastic supply chains in each wasteshed was gathered through:
- A review of publicly available literature,
- In-country interviews conducted with local supply chain actors, and
- Stakeholder interviews with organisations privy to local arrangements, such as local plastics associations, municipal waste management organisations, informal sector groups, waste operators, and producer responsibility organiations to gain additional insight and to help corroborate the findings.
The outcomes of the study was published by The Circulate Initiative here. The reports provide another step towards understanding wastesheds.
In addition, Anthesis also provided four proprietary playbooks with additional infrastructure and economic analysis and a set of detailed company specific recommendations for investment opportunities in these countries.
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.