USAID introduced the concept of plastic recycling in Macedonia

Speeches Shim

Over a decade ago, USAID introduced the concept of plastic recycling in Macedonia. USAID worked with the government, local municipalities, schools, companies, and relevant stakeholders to create awareness on how to collect, sort, and recycle plastic, and assisted with setting up the supply chain. While we are proud to have introduced the concept, there's still more to be done to rid Macedonia of its plastic waste. There is a need for renewed attention to recycling plastic and other recyclables such as glass and paper, in Macedonia.

Video Transcript 
By early 2005, the extensive use of plastic packaging had become a serious problem in Macedonia. There was massive plastic waste that polluted the natural beauty of the country, especially its rivers. People were focused on recycling metal scrap, paper, and glass in smaller quantities. So, the obvious question was why not recycle plastic too? The answer: Because no one’s buying it! USAID had an idea! It started a project that introduced plastic recycling in Macedonia. First, USAID had to find the right partners. Through USAID support, a few companies across Macedonia adopted a new technology that could recycle plastic waste into plastic flakes. These flakes could then be exported as raw materials to make new products. Next, in partnership with local governments, USAID helped create the entire infrastructure to needed to recycle plastic: It supplied blue bins on streets for people to drop off plastic bottles; designated collection centers; and worked with public utility companies to educate people on how to segregate plastic from other waste. USAID had a training program for people who already sorted trash to enable them to also sort plastic. They were also given specialized tricycles to collect plastic bottles. This initiative was promoted in all primary schools in Macedonia, even a popular plastic recycling anthem was created! It worked! USAID created a whole new self-sustaining industry! By raising awareness about pollution, USAID promoted environmentally friendly habits, created new jobs, and best of all, Macedonia became a cleaner place. You could once again see its natural beauty! In 2005 USAID launched Macedonia’s plastic recycling industry. What started from a simple idea, has grown into an industry that now creates thousands of jobs across the country. THAT’S WHAT TRUE FRIENDS ARE FOR! 25 YEARS USAID IN MACEDONIA

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