Zero recyclable waste to landfill throughout the developing world
PET bottles Collected
Glass bottles collected
aluminium cans Collected
Employed three staff for a total of 16 months
Recyclable collection from over 15 customers over a two-year period
Donated material towards 4 local projects, including art projects and a local organisation making bins and providing waste management education to schools
Run workshops with more than 10 companies to educate their staff not only on the benefits of recycling but also waste management in general
In Timor-Leste, recycling is not a widely known concept, with no word for ‘recycling’ in the local language. The waste problem is one of the first things you notice upon arrival in Dili, with all waste being burnt on the streets, private property or on the national burning site, Tibar. The streets and beaches are riddled with waste and the air smells of burnt plastic. The people of Timor-Leste identify that this is a problem, but do not have an alternate means to dispose of various types of waste. The waste problem poses health risks, environmental degradation and social degradation for the local people and environment.
Lack of reliable waste disposal results in harmful, toxic air due to the burning of rubbish. This negatively affects the living conditions of people residing in high density urban areas, the cities which house the majority of the population. Families and young children are particularly susceptible to the negative health impacts of frequent burning rubbish.
Ineffective waste management creates an eyesore in cities, reduces the attractiveness of the locale for tourists/foreign investment and sucks productive time in removal or processing. Beachside and street side restaurants and hotels suffer from loss of customers due to the litter and burning outside. Workers in industries dependent on the environment, like scuba instructors depend on marine systems, suffer as their place of work deteriorates over time.
Waste disposal that does exist in developing countries mostly results in landfill without any consideration of alternate methods. Within developing countries like Timor-Leste there is no concept of recycling let alone operational practice. At this stage there is no sustainable way to repurpose materials in Timor-Leste as an example.
HOW IT WORKS
Everest Recycling Solutions (ERS) operates autonomously, with only remote management from Australia. Our local staff collect Aluminium cans, PET bottles and paper from businesses and restaurants up to twice a week. From here, aluminium is sold to a company that then sends it to Indonesia to be reused. Plastic and glass have thus far been donated to art or reuse projects. We are currently in discussions with Heineken and Verdeka to ensure more scalable processing of plastics and have been working with KOR Timor on the design of a paper bag to replace plastic bags in supermarkets (and have therefore begun to collect paper in our service too). We also run education workshops with staff at these businesses, to teach them the benefits of recycling and correct waste management.
The business model
ERS operates on a subscription model with businesses signing up for twice weekly, weekly or monthly collections and has been running autonomously for a year and a half, following a successful trial period nearly two years ago. ERS has tested its value proposition with expatriate businesses and international schools within Dili. ERS also has a permanent repurposing pathway for aluminium, and has experimented with various glass, plastic and paper repurposing over its time.
Further development of the business model is required to achieve greater scale and more effective use of repurposing recycled materials. There exists the potential to expand to service smaller scale companies as well as communities and individuals.
There exists the potential to sell either raw recyclable material or repurposed material, potentially allowing for the reduction of costs of the collection service. Several partnerships need to be further explored to determine if this is viable.
KEy Value Proposition
Reducing the amount of waste that ends up in our environment
Providing alternative waste management solutions
WANT TO INTERN ON THIS PROJECT?