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Germany supports establishment of Egyptian recycling firm to curb marine litter

To prevent garbage from entering the sea, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) is supporting the Egypt-based project “Prevention of Tourism Marine Litter” – TouMaLi.

Marine litter
Marine litter

As part of the project, rubbish is collected in hotels and other tourist facilities, a waste collection point is set up and recyclables are marketed.

In the initial phase, waste from 20 hotels and five beaches will be collected and transported to the recycling centre. In addition, the main sources of marine litter in tourist destinations on the Mediterranean coasts of Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco are examined and qualified.

The aim is to develop sustainable solutions such as legal frameworks, organisational structures or financing instruments in the North African target countries. The BMUV supports the project as part of the first Africa project against marine litter. The BMUV announced this on the sidelines of an international conference in Alexandria.

The TouMaLi Egypt company will provide waste management services to the tourism sector in Alexandria and beyond. This should include a pilot project for the collection of recyclables and a recycling depot. It is supported by the BMUV and the Egyptian Ministry of the Environment.

In addition to working with producers and hotels, there will also be a focus on strengthening the so-called informal sector: Individuals who have previously collected rubbish unprotected and without registration as an additional source of income will also be involved. This makes the company unique in the North African tourism region and could become a nationwide model for more producer liability. In the medium term, expansion to Tunisia and Morocco is conceivable.

In addition, the TouMaLi Egypt company will act as a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) and pilot the EPH system for packaging in Egypt. EPH stands for Extended Producer Liability. With an EPH system, producers of packaging are obliged to pay for packaging that is easily or less easily recyclable by means of a mostly graduated system of fees, so that they sometimes pay for the costs of recycling, including cleaning up beaches. A positive side effect can also be that producers adapt their product design to further recyclability.

Several private Egyptian companies from the hotel, catering and café sector (HoReCa), the Arab Academy of Sciences and the Landbell Group are initially involved in the company. The Egyptian Ministry of the Environment supports the company as a partner of the TouMaLi project as part of an advisory group. The costs for the company’s service are shared among the stakeholders involved (producers and stakeholders from the HoReCa sector together with the Egyptian Ministry of the Environment).

In order to improve the protection of the seas against litter, the Federal Environment Ministry launched the funding programme against marine litter “Marine Debris Framework – Regional hubs around the globe” (Marine:DeFRAG) in 2019. The projects are intended to contribute to environmentally friendly disposal and recycling structures in countries of the Global South and to actively avoid waste. Die Zukunft – Umwelt – Gesellschaft (ZUG) gGmbH is a federally owned service company that was founded by the BMUV. It supports the BMUV as a project sponsor in the implementation of Marine:DeFRAG and others funding programmes.

From October 10 to 11, 2022, representatives of international organisations, including the BMUV, the project management organisation Future – Environment – ​​Society (ZUG) and the Egyptian Ministry of the Environment met at a conference in Alexandria.

The aim of the conference, entitled “Contribution of sound waste management systems to sustainable tourism and the protection of marine ecosystems”, was to present the first results of the first Africa project, which has been running since the beginning of 2021 of the BMUV “Prevention of Tourism Marine Litter” (TouMaLi) to present and discuss.

The event also enabled a direct exchange between relevant actors from science, the private sector and politics in the project countries and Europe.

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