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As the population of Kathmandu increases, the use of plastic usage and waste generation are also growing. The approaches to managing waste in the city include open burning and unorganized dumping. On average, 48% of the waste in municipalities is landfilled, while 32% is burnt, and 27% is openly dumped on the riversides. The informal sector plays a crucial role in waste management for Nepal. Informal waste workers (IWWs) range from collectors to waste pickers and scrap dealers. This project will set up plastic collection points along rivers and make use of it, intercepting them at the source.  

The value chain for collecting plastics is strong, but a facility for the final processing of collected plastic is missing. Creating the infrastructure and putting a system in place to separately collect and handle the different types of collected plastics and the volume required to be profitable will reduce plastic littering. Through this project, we will set up a small-scale, locally run pilot plastic recycling facility that can manage both high- and low-quality plastics, which is not found in Nepal now. 

When the plastic has value it will be collected, not thrown into the environment. Many of the estimated 10,000–15,000 waste pickers working in Kathmandu Valley are women, but they are among the most marginalized. There is an enormous untapped potential to increase the capture of plastic by increasing the capacity of the informal waste sector, especially for women.

  • What are the activities of the project?

    The activities of the project are as follows: 

    • Identifying the main sources of plastic entering rivers in Kathmandu Valley; 
    • Mapping the challenges that Informal Waste Workers are facing; 
    • Increasing the recyclability and value of plastics; 
    • Building the capacity of women in the informal waste sector; 
    • Communicating and raising awareness on the ability of women informal waste workers to reduce plastics. 
  • What is the main purpose of the project?

    The purpose of this project is to contribute to better management of plastic waste internationally by looking at a more comprehensive solution that solves the challenges in a sustainable and long-term way. More specifically, the project will identify where plastic leaks into Nepal Rivers and strengthen the informal sector to capture more plastic for recycling, diverting it from landfills and open dumping, and increasing its value in the waste value chain.  

  • Who are the target groups and beneficiaries of the project?

    The target group of this project is informal waste workers as they are the agents for change. Alongside, we also target to maintain a clean environment mechanism to reduce plastic pollution in Nepal.  

  • Who is supporting the project?

    The Norwegian Retailers Environment Fund grants the project. It is being led by GRID Arendal, a non-profit environmental communications center that helps to transform environmental data into innovation, science-based information products and provides capacity building services. The supporting partners of this project are CREASION, Doko Recyclers, International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), and the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI).  


Norwegian Retailer's Environment Fund

GRID Arendal

Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI)

International Solid Waste Association (ISWA)

Doko Recyclers

Our Contribution to Global Goals

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