USAID Grantee Supports Plastic Recycling Successes in Negombo, Sri Lanka
For many years, Anton Joseph – a recycler based in Negombo, Sri Lanka – had just one plastic crusher machine which he used to process and sell about 12 metric tons (MT) of crushed plastics per month. Due to cumbersome bureaucratic regulations, Anton was struggling to obtain the necessary legal documents to register his business and expand his operation to new clients.
In 2018, Janathakshan Guarantee Limited launched a project under USAID’s Municipal Waste Recycling Program (MWRP) to increase waste segregation at source and reduce plastic waste in Negombo and Katunayake. In addition to providing training, the project seeks to facilitate recyclable waste collection and processing by linking independent waste collectors (IWC) and private recyclers with local businesses and households that segregate their waste.
Anton attended an MWRP-supported training on the benefits of incorporating plastic recycling into businesses like his own, and shortly after began working with the project team to start a plastic recycling and pelletizing operation. With the team’s guidance, he began by purchasing a plastic pelletizer machine and connected with IWCs who could maintain the required recyclable plastic waste supply by collecting from their communities. The project also provided Anton with further training on management and workflow arrangements, as well as how to engage with local authorities.
Anton has since increased his monthly recyclable processing capacity from 12 MT to 30 MT and registered his new business under “RNA Plastics.” As of December 2019, more than 130 IWCs supply RNA Plastics with recyclable plastic waste, which in turn provides them with a steady income. When asked about the impact of the MWRP program on his business, Anton notes, “When I got connected with the project staff they taught me the value of the work I am doing and the amount of benefit it brings to Negombo’s marine environment…then I received trainings on dealing with government offices and the rights I have as a business. With these trainings, I was able to develop my business to a level that I never imagined.” The Negombo Municipal Council credits Anton’s work through RNA Plastics as one of the reasons for Negombo’s success in community-level waste segregation.