How can collecting and recycling plastic waste create job opportunities for young people in rural Ethiopia?

Target group

  • Young people who without job prospects (median age Ethiopia is 19.8)
  • Ethiopian society which faces the challenge of increasing plastic waste

Framework conditions

Ethiopia is a developing country where the use of plastics is increasing. The problem is currently spreading in Addis Ababa; regional cities such as Harer/Diredawa and Bahirdar, as well as medium-sized cities, are also rapidly becoming a challenge. In large cities like Addis Ababa and Diredawa, factories for shredding machines are slowly emerging. There is also the possibility of starting a small-scale business. The sector enjoys strong political support as it is linked to job creation for young people. Many Ethiopians aspire to reuse plastic products for a purpose other than the original design. Currently, factories are starting to shred the collected plastic to recycle it and use it to make other products.

According to the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) 2023 report, the use of plastic is expected to shift in the coming years. The report calls for three market changes: Reuse, recycling, and repurposing and diversification of products. The report explains reuse: By promoting reuse options, including refillable bottles, bulk dispensers, deposit return systems, packaging return systems, etc., plastic pollution can be reduced by 30 per cent by 2040. To realise the potential, governments need to help build a stronger business case for reusables.

The reuse and recycling of plastics could be used both for climate-friendly living and at the same time create jobs for young people through collection, shredding and delivery to recyclers.

About Menschen für Menschen

Menschen für Menschen has been providing „help for self-help“ in Ethiopia since 1981. The aim is to develop entire regions in the long term and make them independent of foreign aid. Today, around 6 million people in areas with a total area of over 60,000 km² benefit from the work of the organisation. 13 of 28 project regions have already been completed and handed over in their entirety to the responsibility of the population.

Together with the population, measures from the fields of agriculture, water, education, health and income are linked and implemented. Especially the creation of jobs for young people has been an important focus for several years. In this context, the recycling of plastic waste also opens up economic opportunities and job opportunities for young people, in addition to the ecological necessity.

Termin Follow-Up Session: 28. November 2023, 11 – 12 am

Note: This team works in English during the workshop to enable the participation of an expert from Ethiopia.

More information about the co-creation workshop 2023