SwitchMed Connect Session: Closing the Life Cycle of Plastic Waste

October 20th SwitchMed Forum in Barcelona, Spain. Presentation and discution of the Guidelines developed to identify business opportunities in the abundance of waste and structure resulting models.

Sofia Diaz shared how Danone is treating the life cycle of plastic waste and how they contribute to change the approach in the value chain to influence the recycling ecosystem.  Danone´s strategy is to help create a circular economy for packaging, and for that, innovation is the key to success.

After the introductory presentations, we simulated some key components of the Guidelines. The assistants were separated in four groups to give ideas about how to design a strategic plan for closing the life cycle of different kinds of waste (as food waste from supermarkets, fishing nets from the sea, plastic bottles from cities).

Some of the conclussions:

  • Recycling value chain is complex and fragmented
  • Waste pickers empowerment is possible but takes time
  • The main obstacles waste pickers face are not economic, they highly value better working conditions
  • Government is a key actor that needs to be involved and invest in infrastructure
  • Regulatory context is very important
  • Economic model must be a priority to guarantee the project`s sustainability in long term and guarantee replicability
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