Waste to Value

Swisscontact's Waste to Value project strengthens the environmental performance in service sector SMEs (hotels, restaurants, cafés and mini-marts) by improving their waste management practices and access to green products. The project further strengthens business operations and improves workplace safety for informal waste pickers increasing their income and quality of livelihood. This is complemented with awareness raising among service sector SMEs and the wider population along with encouraging public-private consultation meetings in the Lao PDR in line with national and municipal government strategies.
Vang Vieng 
Project duration
2021 - 2024

The Project

Waste management is an increasing challenge in urban areas of Laos, growing in line with urbanisation. Most of the waste still ends up unsegregated on landfills. The population is little sensitized to environmental issues. The supply of green products and services to reduce waste generation and improve re- and upcycling of waste is also very limited. The recycling rate is estimated at 10% only. Recyclable materials are collected at the source of generation or on landfill sites by informal waste pickers who are subjected to unsafe working conditions, stigmatisation, and social exclusion. 

The project contributes to inclusive development and a healthier environment in Laos through improved waste and resource management practices and access to green products in the service sector. SMEs (Hotels, Restaurants, Coffe shops, Mini-marts) improve their environmental performance, increase their competitiveness and reduce their operational costs. This allows them to increase their income as well as retain and create jobs. Waste pickers, on the other hand, are better integrated into the waste value chain and improve their incomes and livelihoods. 

The project has three main components:  

1. Green Products and Services

Promotion and support to develop and supply innovative green products and services to service sector SMEs, with a focus on hotels, restaurants and cafes that will strengthen their value proposition and competitive advantage through adopting these environmental-friendly solutions.

2. Waste Management

Improve resource efficiency and the management of organic and non-organic waste among targeted SMEs to reduce operational costs and increase the quality and quantity of clean recyclables. Informal waste pickers are also supported to improve workplace safety, business operations, and market access to strengthen their livelihoods.

3. Awareness raising and dialogues

Raise awareness of the circular economy and increase communication between key project stakeholders from the public and private sectors to strengthen coordination and cooperation, with the aim to increase the demand for environmentally friendly products and services among SMEs and their customers.

Project partner:

  • Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment 

Implementing partners:

  • Hotel and Restaurants Associations (LHRA, HGGV, RBGV)
  • Econox
  • NUoL (University)
  • LDWDC (Lao Disabled Women Development Centre)

Expected results

  • Up to 350 service sector SMEs, focusing on hotels, restaurants, cafés, and mini-marts, reduce their operational costs and strengthen their competitive advantage through environmental-friendly solutions.
  • Up to 165 informal waste pickers improve their livelihoods and incomes through a safer work environment and improved business performance.


Financing partners

This project is financed by the Canton Basel-City, City of Zurich and Däster-Schild Foundation, among other donors. It is part of the Swisscontact Development Programme, which is co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA. 


Green cities
The Eco Challenge competition on green solutions for the hospitality sector crowned three winning teams
Swisscontact, in collaboration with Makerbox, organized an Eco Challenge on December 9, 2023 at the Laotel Hotel in Vientiane Capital under the Waste to Value project. The Eco Challenge is a competition which accelerates local innovative ideas into physical prototypes. This Eco Challenge will catalyze the design and development of sustainable green solutions for Hotels, Restaurants, and Cafes (HORECA).  The Waste to Value project is implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE).
Green cities
Advancing Tourism and Hospitality (T/H) marketing knowledge on social media to promote green practices.
The Advanced Green Marketing Training was organized by the Waste to Value project in collaboration with Aleph Laos at the Academy Hotel in Vang Vieng on October 13, 2023. Aleph is the official representative of Meta in Laos, which includes Facebook. The half-day training was chaired by Mr. Bountai Sipaserd, Deputy Head of the Vang Vieng Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DoNRE). 23 representatives from Vang Vieng's Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), as well as government partners (the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Provincial and District Offices of Natural Resources and Environment), attended the training. The training program was developed and led by trainers from the Aleph Laos team, along with an industry trainer, Mr. Catter, from the Riverside Boutique Hotel. 
Green cities
Waste to Value Project's IMC Showcases Progress at Bi-Annual Meeting in Vientiane, Laos
The highly anticipated Bi-Annual Meeting of the Waste to Value Project's Implementation Management Committee (IMC) was successfully held on Friday, August 4th, 2023, at the prestigious Crown Plaza Hotel in Vientiane Capital. The event was officially opened by Mr. Thevarack Phonekeo, Deputy Director of the Department of Environment under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and co-chaired by Mr. Michael Fink, the Country Director of Swisscontact.

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