How does plastic flow in Njombe and Tanzania?

Through research and interviews we have managed to have an approximated idea of the current life cycle of plastic entering Njombe town.

Life cycle of plastic

Plastic enters Njombe in the form of products made of or containing plastic and packaging. Local companies distribute some of these products or use these plastic items to sell their products (e.g. local bottled water companies).

Local people buy and make use of plastic containing products. They often reuse some of these products, but at some point most of them are discarded to the environment, burnt in the domestic pits or brought to the dumpsite through the solid waste management collection system . For the latter the government charges a collection fee.

Plastic collectors take some of that plastic from the environment and from the dumpsite and sell it to a few local shredders who in turn, resell the crashed plastic to big scale plastic waste managers in Dar Es Salaam. Local shredders need to accumulate enough plastic waste to fill up a truck and make the trip to Dar Es Salaam economically beneficial.

In most cases plastic waste is not recycled in Dar Es Salaam but sent abroad. Since China stopped importing plastic waste, new alternative markets have emerged. What happens to plastic waste in these countries is beyond our knowledge.

Some plastic types (PET, PP and HDEP) are partialy recycled in Dar Es Salaam and turned into bottles or bags.


This scheme generates certain challenges for local stakeholders:

Stakeholders Problems
Local people Access to limited products. Can we get what we really need?
No incentive to sort out waste out
Local companiesAccess to expensive products from outside
Access only to standardised components they require
GovernmentNeed to enforce waste management system
Difficult segregation of impurities from organic
Local plastic collectors
& shredders
Business sustainability depends on external markets (China, India, etc.)

Let us see how NjomBE BEyond can improve these challenges!

unaiHow does plastic flow in Njombe and Tanzania?