Waste sorting bins in Taba town, Egypt
The struggle is not new. We already knew that Egypt had banned single-use plastics on some of its beaches. But that's not all. In fact, it is far from all. Green initiatives are on the rise in the land of the Pharaohs.
Faced with the global phenomenon of increased production of plastics – and, a fortiori, plastic waste – Egyptian start-ups are becoming more inventive. This is a major challenge if we consider the environmental impact of plastic, which takes several centuries to decompose.
Among these start-ups, we find Bekia, a website that positions itself on the waste exchange market in Cairo. Understand: users are able to declare on the site the waste they want to dispose of, whatever it is (plastics, paper, food), and exchange it for a range of 65 products offered by Bekia. The start-up claims to be the first website in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) to trade waste. It now has 7,000 users and hopes to pass the 50,000 mark within two years.
Among the products available are rice, pasta, tea, school supplies, or subway tickets. Note that users of the site are not necessarily obliged to use their “credit” to obtain products, they can also make donations to people in need, or simply save it for the future.
Awareness and action
In terms of recycling, Go Clean is also in charge. Under the leadership of the Ministry of the Environment, this startup is campaigning to democratize waste recycling in the country, collecting waste from factories, households, schools, restaurants and businesses. Clients can be paid directly in cash, or make donations to specialized institutions, such as schools for example. The possibility of exchanging for basic necessities is again under development, with the possibility of recovering dishwashing liquid. The company, which started with the management of 7 orders per day, now handles more than a hundred orders per day.
These initiatives are refreshing at a time when the world, and not just the Arab world, is facing an extremely high environmental challenge. No doubt they will quickly create emulators…