In Lusaka, Zambia, waste infrastructure has struggled to keep pace with a growing population. This means post-consumer packaging waste remains largely uncollected or in drains, which when blocked, becomes a source of cholera and typhoid during the rainy season.
Around 200,000 tons of product packaging contributes to the problem each year, and we estimate that Zambian Breweries accounts for 3.5% of this problem. We sell around 40% of our products in returnable bottles or kegs, but the rest are sold in one-way packaging, such as disposable cartons or plastic bottles, which are often hard to collect and recycle.
In 2015, we launched Manja Pamodzi – Hands Together – with the Lusaka City Council to improve sanitation and hygiene through the process of cleaning up waste. Since then, this social entrepreneurship program pilot has become part of a growing effort to clean up waste in eight districts, supporting small-scale waste collectors, of which around three-quarters are women. Today, 247 collectors and five aggregators have registered, collecting a total 251 tons of cartons and plastic bottles.