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.
This project is financed by the 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.