Namé Recycling, plastic collection and recycling company that combats plastic pollution in Africa
Invest from 50€ (no upper limit) with 5% interest rate, paid back over 24 months. This loan finances the reduction of plastic pollution by the installation of a treatment and recycling center.
❗Loans from 50€ minimum
📌First goal: 100 000€ with a success threshold at 70 000€
📈The collection target ceiling may be removed at €150 000, then €200 000 if the campaign dynamics allow it.
The company’s repayment capacity analysis was based on an amount of €200 000
*All loans under 50€ will be cancelled
It is hardly news to anyone that the biodiversity is threatened. Humanity is currently facing a mass extinction of living species on the planet. Climate change as well as intensive farming are partly responsible for this disaster. But the plastic pollution, which all countries in world are confronted with today, is also a big part of the cause of the mass extinction.
Every year, nearly 12,7 million tons of plastic end up on our oceans, causing irreparable damage to our planet. Still, there are several concrete solutions for addressing this issue, starting with sorting, recycling and reusing plastic. All over the world, there are already 15 million people living off waste recycling. But the majority of these people are living in developing countries, and work in unhealthy and dangerous conditions.
In Cameroon, the government has expressed a wish to tackle the issue of plastic pollution and protect its population. This is the context in which Namé first saw the light of day in 2016, as a response to the environmental and social crisis.
Le plastique fait partie de la vie de nombreuses espèces vivantes à leur insu
The entrepreneurs Roblain Namegni and Thomas Poelmans founded NAMé in 2016. They created this Belgian-Cameroonian company with the goal to have a positive ecological, social and economic impact.
In his childhood, Roblain witnessed the disastrous effects of plastic pollution on the biodiversity in his country. After his business studies in Belgium, Roblain became acquainted with Thomas, a consultant for sustainable development in Africa. Sharing the same vision and the same values, they decided to start a company that would pioneer plastic collection and recycling in Cameroon. In 2014, the project started taking form, and after a few months they had developed an operating model for collecting, treating and recycling the main types of plastics found in nature.
After a first fundraising in 2016, NAMé started up in Limbe, a coastal city situated 80km from Cameroon’s economic capital Douala.
Thanks to its network of both professional collectors (private businesses, municipalities, NGOs) located all over the country, as well as private collectors, NAMé Recycling can easily access its raw materials. Once the material is collected, it is sorted, cleaned and processed and lastly re-valorized.
A part of the NAMé Recycling team in a treatment center
Breakdown of the activities
1st step: Plastic Collection
It operates through three network tiers:
Through the B2B network tier, namely industrials who generate a high plastic production. Today, this tier represents 55% of the NAMé’s collected plastic supply.
Through the B2C network tier, consisting of urban community members who collect plastic waste during organized plastic collections. This represents 45% of NAMés collected plastic supply.
The informal network tier, which will continue to exist. NAMé recycling has made a commitment to buy up plastic to the fairtrade market price.
Plastic waste collection in the city thanks to a team of collectors
Collection point in Yaoundé, set up by the NAMé Recycling teams
2nd step: Sorting and cleaning the plastic
Once in the treatment center, the plastic is sorted, because not all types of plastic can be recycled in the same way. They are sorted accordingly:
- Typology (PET, HDPE, LDPE)
At the end of the collection, the plastic is sent to the center to be sorted
The plastics are hand sorted by the team in the treatment center
3rd step: Grinding, washing and drying
The plastic is first grinded, then shredded, and turned into flakes of 8-14mm in diameter.
Conveying of plastic bottles after sorting
The plastic is sorted and passed through a grinder, turning it into small flakes
Then, the plastic enters into a series of hot and cold washes before being dried.
The washing system in the background
Up until 2018, the process stopped here. The flakes were sold on the local and international market as raw material for new products.
However, in 2019, the company decided to take their business a step further and start making their own final products.
4th step: Plastic Extrusion
This step consists of processing the plastic flakes to a finished product. This processing can result in different forms, such as filaments, pipes, film, etc.
All of these forms are then sold to NAMé’s customers.
Preparation of spools of plastic film after the extrusion of the material
5ème étape : Ventes
Once the material is processed, NAMé has two options:
- The products are sold to local companies who use them to make objects such as tools and plastic protective film.
- The products are distributed internationally, thanks to networks such as Morssinkhof Plastics who resell the material to European companies such as IKEA. Recycled plastic is increasingly used in the production of everyday objects (tables, chairs, furniture, bottles, etc.).
Ad for NAMé Recycling PET straps, in the streets of Yaoundé
Presentation video of NAMé Recycling’s PET straps
L’impact positif du projet
The project NAMé Recycling is first and foremost an ecological one. It offers a concrete solution for the most polluted areas in Cameroon. By offering both collection and recycling, the project has adopted a circular economy approach, where all of the stakeholders are involved in the protection of biodiversity and natural spaces.
A clean-up of a natural zone by the collection teams
In all of the previously presented steps, NAMé Recycling has created stable and safe jobs that benefit the local population. From the collection of plastics, to the cleaning and production of new objects, NAMé works as an important economic agent for the country, and offers career opportunities for young Cameroonians.
By choosing to hire and develop collection networks in the cities where the treatments centers are located, NAMé Recycling has chosen to bring a social reintegration solution to work for people who are excluded from the formal system. This decision has allowed NAMé to maximize their social impact, but also their environmental impact, since they involve the local communities in their entirety.
The project became operational in 2016. Today, it has three operational treatment centers: Douala, Limbé and a newly opened one in Gabon.
From day one, the company has been widely successful among public and political institutions in Cameroon. Their support has been essential in the development of the company, and thanks to significant government subsidies, NAMé has been able to continuously invest in new equipment to improve their processes.
NAMé Recycling has revalorized 2500 tons of plastic in total, the equivalent of approximately 74 million plastic bottles. Today, the total treatment capacity is 5000 tons, heralding very bright growth prospects for NAMé.
NAMé Recycling has rapidly signed collection partnerships with the main plastic producers in Africa, among others Castel and Nestlé. These collaborations have allowed to rapidly collect large quantities of plastic. Much like in Europe, the government of Cameroon wishes to compel plastic importers to take the responsibility of collecting and recycling the plastic. In practical terms, these companies are financially involved in recycling through technical partnerships, such as the one with NAMé Recycling. Thus, NAMé Recycling has become a trusted partner for all the large plastic industrials in West Africa.
The collection through consumers is also one of the major development axes for NAMé. For ecological and social reasons, but also economic ones. This method contributes to spreading awareness among consumers about waste sorting and collecting large quantities of plastic that is not commonly revalorized in Cameroon. In 2018, the collection by consumers represented 25% versus 45% in 2020. Given the speed of awareness-raising in West Africa today, the company hopes to reach 75% plastic collected by consumers in 2021.
At the end of the collection, the plastic is sent to the center to be treated and washed
The company continues to grow, with a new treatment center in Gabon. It is the result of the government’s demand to bring in equipment for recycling plastic and limit pollution and the destruction of the country’s rich biodiversity. A new fundraising of several million euros is expected in 2020, supporting the company’s strong growth.
Visit and presentation of the NAMé Recycling treatment center
Founded by Roblain and Thomas, the company employs 50 people directly in the cleaning and processing centers, and more than 600 people indirectly in different collection networks.
Both of them having a background from large international consulting firms, Roblain and Thomas have divided the administrative tasks. Roblain is in charge of operations and the functioning of the treatment centers, and Thomas is in charge of business development and the company’s finances.
Motivated by the ambition to combat plastic pollution in Africa, the company has within a few years become a major economic actor in the West African region within plastic recycling.
Use of the funds
In 2019, the company had higher costs than expected during the construction of its new factory in Douala. This called for a supplementary investment from NAMé, directly impacting the company’s treasury.
While awaiting the new funds expected in the second half-year of 2020, NAMé Recycling is seeking operating funds to ensure the future growth of the company’s activities. These funds will allow the company to hire additional staff, make improvements to certain processes, install an internal water circuit to limit cost and waste, and install solar panels on the roofs on each of the treatment centers.