Prevented ocean plastic Africa launches to help THE GLOBAL PROGRAMME stop enough plastic bottles to fill a great pyramid from reaching the ocean in next 18 months

With COP27 about to begin in Sharm El Sheikh, a major expansion of the award winning Prevented Ocean Plastic programme has been announced. The expansion will save up to 5,000 tonnes of plastic a year – or 220 million bottles – from entering the ocean from pollution in two areas in Africa, including the Swahili Coast and where the Nile meets the Mediterranean. Prevented Ocean Plastic Africa will be a partnership with leading manufacturer Bariq, to create fully traceable, certified, quality recycled plastic. Using a proven model, underpinned with rigorous standards, the expansion of the programme into Africa will mean the global programme will accelerate to stop over a billion bottles – enough to fill one of the great pyramids – from entering the world’s oceansin the next eighteen months.

Prevented Ocean Plastic Africa is a commercial partnership between Bantam Materials, Bariq and infrastructure experts supporting the region. Together, they will collect plastic from Swahili and North African coastal regions, including from around Nile. The programme will build infrastructure to collect plastic from areas with little or no current recycling infrastructure for expert, food-safe processing in North Africa. The programme was officially launched in Cairo where some of the world’s best recyclers came together to ratify and sign up to Prevented Ocean Plastic’s new Standards.

The newly signed Prevented Ocean Plastic Standards will underpin all the work of the new African programme. The programme is already successfully operating in South East Asia (supported by USAID), Latin America and the Mediterranean region using the same model that was used the test the new Standards. These go beyond regulatory and compliance measures to set an industry-leading standard to minimise environmental impact, ensure quality product and improve worker conditions. They were developed in accordance with ETI (Ethical Trading Initiative) basecode and follow the Code of Good Practice developed by ISEAL, as well as Bantam Materials’ Good Manufacturing Practices and best in class traceability. Created in consultation with over 70 leading businesses, they were designed to meet the needs of the world’s best recyclers. They will set the rules, guidelines and characteristics for organisations participating in the Prevented Ocean Plastic Africa programme and have been agreed to by some of the best recyclers globally.

Prevented Ocean Plastic Africa will divert at least 5,000 tons of plastic in its first 18 months from entering the ocean, with the aim of scaling to stop 10,000 tons at its maturity. This will contribute to the global programme being able to stop one billion bottles in just 18 months, just half the time it took to stop its first billion. That will be enough bottles, when piled up, to match the size of a great pyramid. It will also create work and boost local economies. The programme will provide fairly paid work for collectors and employees in the recycling centres. Worker conditions and pay are monitored as part of the new standards.

Raffi Schieir, Director of Bantam Materials, said, “We’re proud to be able to launch this transformative programme in Africa. As we begin COP27, and with G20 nearly upon us, we’re urging the sector, regulators and officials to come and meet with us to learn more about what’s possible. We don’t need to sacrifice sustainability to create fairly paid work and produce quality alternatives to virgin plastic. We have a proven model that can be expanded at scale. Together, with relatively small investment, we can use the Prevented Ocean Plastic model to scale up the production of our award-winning product all while creating more jobs and stimulating local communities.”

Ahmed Nabil, Chief Commercial & Sustainability Officer, Bariq said, “We already diverted 15 billion bottles and we are ready to support any initiative that we see extending our impact to other regions. We hope that Prevented Ocean Plastic Africa will have a good impact and will achieve the target. We have already recycled 15 billion bottles and we have a target of recycling 50 billion bottles by 2030. Year over year, we wanted to have more plastic diversion from Ocean within our recycling mix. We are pleased to be working with Bantam Materials to create Prevented Ocean Plastic Africa. This will help to protect coastal regions and the Mediterranean Sea from plastic pollution. We’re looking forward to being able to scale up the programme and show what’s possible while holding the work to the highest of standards.”

Building for the infrastructure of the programme is already underway, with material set to join the supply chain in Q1 of 2023. It will create award winning, quality and fully traceable plastic for brands in Europe and North America, including Lidl and Sainsburys.

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