USAID-funded machinery in use at Qaderi Plastic Recycling Company.
Balkh Province, situated in Afghanistan’s northern region, covers an area more than 16,000 km2 and is the fastest growing area in the country. With a population of more than 1.1 million throwing away waste products, the affect on the environment is hazardous. Many consumer products such as bottled-water, oil, beverages, dairy products, etc., are supplied in plastic packs. Considering the relatively high population growth, solid waste – plastic in particular – is also growing in the region. Currently, the municipality collects and disposes of all waste. There aren’t many private firms that collect and recycle plastic.
Recognizing the need for plastic recycling and a potential business opportunity, Qaderi Plastic Recycling Company started its plastic collecting and recycling business in 2006. It collects and recycles plastic waste from five provinces in the northern region and processes them to reusable liquid plastic in Mazar-i Sharif.
Because it did not have the capacity to process all the available plastic waste, Qaderi needed to install additional equipment and machinery to respond to the excess of available plastic in the market. In addition to its own contributions to upgrade its capacity, Qaderi used a $55,000 grant from USAID to procure washing and grinding machinery that helped to increase the firm’s processing capacity.
"Before USAID’s support, we could only cut the plastic and sell it as raw material to Pakistan. We earned only 10 Afs ($.22) per kg," said Qari Abdul Rashid, the deputy director for Qaderi. "After installing the new machines, we can further process the plastic waste and receive the added value in the process. We now make 22 Afs per kg and have employed an additional 50 employees."
Dealing with plastic waste is a huge problem in Afghanistan. However, Qaderi’s business is a productive and practical business effort to clean not only Afghanistan’s environment from plastic, but also to create jobs in doing so.
Plastic Recycling Boosts Employment