MOSSUP – Moroccan supermarkets take charge of single-use plastic waste

To stop single-use plastic packaging polluting the environment in Morocco
MOSSUP – Moroccan supermarkets take charge of single-use plastic waste

Draining the single-use swamp

Despite having a relatively small plastic industry, Morocco has a disproportionate plastic consumption. Much of this waste leaks into the environment. Searious Business is testing solutions in Moroccan supermarkets to reduce single-use plastic packaging in Moroccan supermarkets. 

Draining the single-use swamp

Despite having a relatively small plastic industry, Morocco has a disproportionate plastic consumption. According to their 2019 report WWF, Morocco as a whole generates 550 thousand tonnes of plastic waste each year. 55% of this ends up leaking into the environment due to uncollected waste and illegal dumping. Much of this waste leaks into the water system and ends up in the Mediterranean, affecting fishing, tourism and shipping. Searious Business has teamed up with The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs programme for Small Business Innovation Research, the Marocaine pour la Protection de l’Environment et du Climat (ASMAPEC) and the Moroccan Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to find solutions to single-use plastic packaging in Moroccan supermarkets. The first visual outcomes are captured in a short, compelling video on the project.

Supermarkets take the bull by the horns

Supermarket giants Marjane and Carrefour are introducing two pilot schemes in their Rabat stores to stem the flow of single-use packaging being generated in the retail environment. A PET bottle-to-bottle reverse logistics model: when customers return a bottle for recycling, they receive 0.25DH on their loyalty cards, which they can spend in-store. The second part of the pilot is the introduction of reusable containers at the delicatessen counters. These can be rented for a small fee. After use, customers can return the containers to the store to be washed and reused. If other stores in Rabat adopted this method, it could save a potential 5000 tonnes of plastic waste per year.

Not our problem?

We can’t ignore the plastic problem because it isn’t on our doorstep. What happens across the world affects us all. The images of floating debris on the ocean’s surface only tell one part of the story. 97% of plastic sinks, broken down into small fragments, suspended in the water column. It washes up on beaches, gets eaten by wildlife and even enters our food system. The UN Environment Programme estimated the global damage to marine environments from plastic pollution to be a minimum of $13 billion per year. While western countries have tight regulations on waste management and efficient recycling programs, developing countries are overwhelmed by increasing plastic waste. The vast majority of ocean plastic originates from mismanaged waste in the developing world. It is our responsibility to give them the tools to deal with it at the source. At Searious Business, we believe in one world, one ocean.  

Help from legislators

A key success factor for the MOSSUP project depends on all the stakeholders being ready to embrace change. The retail partners involved in the project must continue to promote the benefits of reducing plastic waste to their customers. So far, the scheme has seen positive reactions from customers in-store. We filled three industrial-sized containers with collected PET bottles in the first week alone! We are hoping the government will feel the impetus to introduce national deposit legislation on PET bottles. The private sector is already moving and benefitting. Now is the time for the public sector to step in and introduce regulations allowing the scaling up of such schemes. Together, we must build a global circular economy and end the throw-away culture. It will take collaboration and integrated action from business, government and consumers across all sectors to facilitate systemic change and turn off the tap on plastic pollution.

For more info

Searious Business are game-changers in the plastics industry. A social enterprise business founded in order to prevent plastic pollution, their work involves systemic change on an international level and accelerating brands towards circular plastic use.

Twitter @seariousbiz

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