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 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
MrsThong – a trailblazer in the world of recycled waste
MrsThong, a resident of Nongduang Thong village in the Chanthabuly district of Vietiane Capital, is a trailblazer in the world of recycled waste. With a keen eye for valuable materials in discarded items, she buys and sells steel, aluminum, and plastic bottles, earning living for herself and her six-member family. Her daughters work as shop assistants, her son as an air condition mechanic, and her son-in-law also joins in on the business by buying waste.
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Green Food Festival raises awareness about alternative to plastic products
The inaugural Green Food Festival opened at the Parkson Center in Vientiane on Wednesday to raise awareness about alternatives to plastic products.
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Green Marketing Training Empowers Businesses in Vang Vieng to Promote Sustainability
Vang Vieng, Laos - March 31st, 2023 - The Green Marketing Training, organized by Econox, was successfully held on Friday, March 31st, 2023, at the prestigious Silver Naga Hotel in Vang Vieng town.

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