Establishing plastic value chains in Vilanculos, Mozambique

Published: 16 March 2021
Last edited: 16 March 2021
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Vilanculos is a small paradise with rich biodiversity along the Indian Ocean in Mozambique, which has been suffering from marine litter for decades. The purpose of this project is to reduce the amount of plastic leakage into the ocean in this city. The project established eco-points in Vilanculos, where plastic waste materials is collected at cost by waste pickers, local residents and organizations. The material is sorted, processed, and sent to recyclers within and outside Mozambique. The various partnerships and advocacy actions carried out has resulted in an increasing collection of plastic waste. This has significantly improved the local marine environment due to the plastic management system put in place. 


3R works on creating integrated solutions for waste produced in Mozambique. The company is committed to the circular value chain contributing to the circular economy. 



East and South Africa
Scale of implementation
Buildings and facilities
Connective infrastructure, networks and corridors
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Cities and infrastructure
Connectivity / transboundary conservation
Disaster risk reduction
Ecosystem services
Gender mainstreaming
Legal & policy frameworks
Local actors
Marine litter
Outreach & communications
Protected and conserved areas governance
Protected and conserved areas management planning
Standards/ certification
Sustainable financing
Waste management
World Heritage
Extreme heat
Storm surges
Tropical cyclones / Typhoons
Conflicting uses / cumulative impacts
Invasive species
Pollution (incl. eutrophication and litter)
Infrastructure development
Lack of access to long-term funding
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Changes in socio-cultural context
Lack of technical capacity
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Lack of infrastructure
Poor governance and participation
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG 9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
SDG 14 – Life below water
Aichi targets
Target 8: Pollution reduced
Target 9: Invasive alien species prevented and controlled
Target 11: Protected and conserved areas
Target 12: Reducing risk of extinction
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Business engagement approach
Direct engagement with associations
Indirect through consumers
Indirect through government


Vilanculos | Beira, Maputo, Matola and Vilanculos


  • Inadequate markets of recycled plastics as well as the closure of markets due to COVID-19 restrictions leading to low oil prices and lack of recycled/processed plastics.
  • COVID-19 pandemic severely affected the tourism sector leading to the closure of most hotels leading to low plastic waste collection resulting in low revenue and disruption of the constant flow of plastics.
  • The location of one of the Eco-point was near a school resulting in cases of child labour due to high poverty levels experienced in the region, which was also exercabated by the closure of schools as a result of COVID-19.
  • Lack of plastics waste management data, due to poor data collection skills among both private and public sector agencies.
  • Poor fast-tracking of invention and innovation associated with circularity aligned to plastic waste management due to inadequate technical skills among young people due to poor education transition rates.


  • Waste pickers.
  • Local communities, including youth and women groups.
  • Environment.
  • Local NGOs.
  • Municipal Council.

How do the building blocks interact?

Advocacy and partnerships were critical cogs in the success of this project. Advocacy was a primer in preparing the enabling environment for the establishment of the eco-points in Vilanculos, where plastic waste materials will be collected at cost from waste pickers, micro-enterprises, and local residents and organizations. Partnerships developed the structure into which each partner collaborates and achieves milestones.


  • Various partnerships with different stakeholders has resulted in the establishment of new eco-points in the city.
  • Setting up a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) went a long way to enhance sorting, processing, and sending the material recovered to recyclers within and outside Mozambique.
  • Waste volumes in local dumpsites has been reduced and recycled volumes have increased. The current waste production is approximately 19 tons/day, 2.7% being plastics as a result of the project. In total the organization manages to collect 6 tons of waste material that is been recycled.
  • Selling and sending the processed material to recycling industries in Mozambique and abroad was very welcomed as it led to opened markets for exploitation leading to increased sales.
  • Awareness has been raised with the local population for reduction of waste, including, better management of plastic waste at source.
  • The marine ecosystem has drastically improved due to the plastic management system established, including regular beach clean-up exercises by young people and waste pickers.



Vilanculos is a small paradise in central Mozambique. It is located in front of the Bazaruto Archipelago, the country's first declared marine protected area.The beautiful beaches and the rich wildlife at the Indian Ocean coast have, however, been suffering with marine litter. Most of the waste produced in Vilanculos remains not collected or end up in a local dumpsite or the environment. But the eco-points are in operation now, opening the door for change.


Teresa Navelane started collecting recyclables three months ago. With the money she gets from delivering the material, she buys basic food items. “I think this project helped (the local Community). Now we have a fixed place to sell our material and can have some income”, says Teresa.



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Raymond Obare Sustainable inclusive Business- Knowledge Centre Kenya

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