The Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) was pleased with the work of AGROPLAST Ltd, a local company which is turning plastic wastes into reusable products, TOPAFRICANEWS reports.
The AGROPLAST is one of a few companies in Rwanda who are ready to tackle an urgent issue in the World today of managing growing stocks of plastic waste.
The Company’s insights and investment are timely considering the Government of Rwanda’s latest announcement that they intend to expand the ban on plastics from polythene bags to all single use plastics.
The Director General of Rwanda Environment Management Authority Coletha Ruhamya commends the company’s job by emphasizing that “AGROPLAST work supports the implementation of National Strategy for Transformation.”
Ruhamya who was speaking at the Official launch of the Partnership between USAID and AGROPLAST during an event held in Gahanga Sector of Kicukiro District said that AGROPLAST is a typical example of what can be done to turn wastes into opportunities.
“If you see the whole chain, the employment that had been created, the green environment that we see out there, it is because there is such initiative that has been implemented but with support from different stakeholders.” She said.
She added that what is being done is not only protecting environment, it is also protecting people in General.
“I believe, we protect the environment because of our people but people cannot be there without environments which include forests, water, land, so we are protecting the environment because we are protecting the human beings.”
Ruhamya said “People have been misled when we say we are banning plastics. And now I want to tell you that we have a law under negotiation in parliament on “Single use of plastics.”
“But also I want to assure you that we always have plastic wastes. This has been testified by the wastes that you have seen today when we were touring various parts of this plant.” She explained
“I know we have banned plastics but we still have plastic bags as wastes. But the good thing is that we have turned wastes into opportunities of which waste is now a resource as you have seen with this plant.
“So I really want to congratulate AGROPLAST for this initiative to support the implementation of National Strategy for Transformation.” She concluded her speech addressed to various guests including USAID Mission in Rwanda, Government Officials as well as members of Private sectors and Company’s Employees.
The DG REMA noted that there are ongoing discussions on how they can lure many people into collection of scattered wastes as part of environment protection and way of creating additional employment opportunities to local communities.
So far AGROPLAST employs 32 permanent workers among them 19 are women.
However, the company has also created economic opportunities for over 80 plastic waste collectors mostly youth and women.
The USAID Head of Mission in Rwanda Leslie Marbury said “The USAID is proud of celebrating partnership with AGROPLAST, and knew that AGROPLAST is an innovator and a leader on the Environmental solutions.”
She congratulated them for working with cooperative farmers and get more values on their products and creating jobs.
“I really want just say congratulations! Rwanda never ceases to surprise me. The thing that I have been seeing on the ground is the way the country puts more efforts in empowering women, you AGROPLAST seems to have touched on that issue by creating jobs for women and girls here.” She says
“So what the USAID is doing here is promoting the environment protection and promoting Private sector growth through this partnership.” She added.
AGROPLAST received equipment’s support through the USAID funded Private Sector Driven Agricultural Growth (PSDAG) projects valued at Rwf 100 million.
The Company’s Chief Executive Officer Leon Nduwayezu said that AGROPLAST leveraged USAID funding and technical assistance to expand its product line and upgrade its plastic recycling facility.
The Company builds a new factory at Kicukiro Industrial Zone and since July 2018 has been producing a variety of products that benefit the Agriculture sector including net bags for potatoes and horticulture, sheetings for greenhouses, tubing for seedlings, substrate and nurseries.
For local hospitality and health sector, the company has also expanded its production of trash bags that meet specific requirements and standards.
“Before, people who were looking for these materials were having to import them at a high cost, but today except the fact that people are not yet aware of local products but those who are using them have testimonies on how they are benefiting from our products.” Nduwayezu said.
Mr. Nduwayezu revealed that the company is expanding its work so they reach a level of producing at least one tone daily of the products.
The Investment made by Agroplast with USAID support have boosted the company’s production capacity tenfold from 50 Kg per day to 500 Kg per day, allowing the company to collect and recycle up to 200 metric tons of waste per year.