Sustainable Development Goal Targeted: Sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production
Lack of reliable government 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.
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.
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 streetside 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.
Project Everest has developed a sustainable social business to mitigate the negative health and environmental impacts of improper waste management in Timor-Leste. Everest Recycling Solutions (ERS) operates autonomously with only remote management from Australia. Through effective collections, transport and warehousing ERS prevents PET bottles, glass and aluminium cans from becoming landfill in the small island nation of Timor-Leste.
Further development of the business model is required to achieve greater scale and effective use of repurposing recycled products. Currently, ERS services large business customers in Dili including Hotel Timor, Plaza Hotel Executive Wing, Mobys, SDV and WEC. This operation has been running relatively smoothly. There exists an opportunity to expand operations to service individual community members in addition to business customers.
HOW IT WORKS
During the 4 months between the end of February and the beginning of July ERS effectively collected and segmented 28000 PET bottles, 8000 glass bottles and 4000 aluminium cans. Receiving positive customer feedback throughout the process proved the effectiveness of the business model. Given this success the challenge is to scale the operations with the ambitious goal of ensuring no recyclable material ends in landfill within Dili, Timor-Leste.
With this success originating from business customers the next stage of expansion is through a model called ‘BagPay’; a stripped-down service model consisting of lower prices and reduced flexibility for the customer. This service is aimed at attracting community members onto the service in addition to the current business customer base.
In addition to this tangible impact through the service, the visibility and nature of operations also introduces the concept of recycling (in tetum, there is no word for recycling) to Timor-Leste.
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