Plastic waste

Recycling plastic waste in the horticultural sector – Seed2Feed and Planetary Service

On an ever-increasing scale plastic-iron greenhouse constructions are introduced in the African market. The lifespan of these plastics is on average between 3 to 5 years. This contributes to the ever-increasing scale of plastic use in Africa, which is expected to more than double with the growth of African metropoles and the doubling of the population in the next 30 years. Plastic waste treatment in Africa is not well regulated. There is a market for plastic waste and often the plastics from the general waste are one of the rare substances recovered from the landfills of household waste in general. In some countries there are provisions for recycling waste and reusing it for lower quality products like black plastics for covering the soil in agriculture.

The fact that the plastic waste from the plastic iron constructions in horticulture is dumped after 3 to 5 years in big quantities, offers opportunities for much more effective collection and recycling methods than the waste from e.g. packaging material. The main research question for the master thesis therefore is by what measures and technologies the plastic waste from horticultural constructions can optimally be disposed of. A number of sub-questions involved (the list is not complete):

  1. What are present practices for collection and disposal of this type of waste?
  2. What opportunities are offered by the fact that this type of waste is offered in high quantities in one package (every time the green house is renovated with new plastic)?
  3. Does a registration system (amount of plastic, type and composition of plastic etc.) support efficient collection and reuse? To what extent is such a system a feasible option?
  4. What regulations (different per country) and technical facilities are present in general and in specific examples (country)?
  5. What are feasible options to improve the current practices? Is transport of the plastic on longer distances (to the rare recycling facilities) a feasible option for improvement?
  6. What can horticultural companies, greenhouse construction companies do in order to enhance opportunities of efficient disposal and recycling of their product?

One of the deliverables of the study is a number of recommendations for the foundation Seed2Feed for effective and sustainable dealings with the plastic waste in introducing horticultural entrepreneurship in African countries.

This master thesis assignment is suitable for management studies, technology policies, mechanical engineering, chemistry.