ReFlow filament making 3D printing truly social

| 26 May 2016 | Category: News

3dprintingOver the last few years entrepreneur Jasper Middendorp collaborated with Enviu, Cordaid, and techfortrade to set up a social business called ReFlow Filament. This year, he will start with the production of high quality 3D print filament out of plastic PET bottles. The organisation offers a solution to deteriorating living conditions of waste pickers around the world. By sourcing materials from waste pickers in developing countries, it can increase the income of waste pickers by up to 20 times.

In many developing countries, among which Tanzania, there’s a lack of formal waste management. The majority of municipalities can’t manage the growing volume of waste in their cities. According to WasteAid UK, 40% of the world’s waste is not collected or treated.

The lack of formal waste collection systems, means that rubbish just spills down the road. Open dumping and illegal incineration of waste cause many serious health problems and pollute the environment. This is where informal workers come into play. Worldwide, millions of people make a living from collecting and sorting garbage and selling them for recycling


Tough life for waste pickers in Dar es Salaam

Tanzania’s capital Dar es Salaam counts 1,200+ waste pickers. Life as a waste picker is tough. Under the burning sun, they scavenge the streets and landfills looking for valuable materials. They’re doing a great job, recovering resources that would elsewise be incinerated or end up in our environment. However, they still face a low social status.

People look down on waste pickers. When picking up plastics from the streets they’re often met with harsh comments and people telling them to leave the streets. They’re called thieves, who can not be trusted scavenging around your residence.

Incentives are low. Besides poor working conditions, waste pickers on the average make €1,50 a day. Their revenues are diminishing now that the prize of plastics is getting historically low (which are directly linked to the price of oil).

Read more about how ReFlow Filament improves the livelihood of Tanzanian waste pickers.

Category: News