USAID Washington recently awarded the Development Innovations Group (DIG) a four-year prime contract to implement the Municipal Waste Recycling Program (MWRP). This USD 9 million program – funded through a Congressional directive and awarded under the Making Cities Work IDIQ small business set-aside – signifies an important investment on the part of USAID to address the global problem of marine plastics pollution. MWRP supports the USG vision for transitioning to a “circular economy” that recaptures, reuses, and transforms waste into next-generation materials or energy. The Program will provide grants and technical assistance to support promising municipal waste recycling efforts in Asia, evaluate their effectiveness, and make recommendations for future USAID investments in the sector.
Asian countries are responsible for more than half of the plastic waste in the world’s oceans. MWRP will thus focus on identifying and scaling innovative solutions that improve municipal waste recycling in three Asian countries that are among the top five producers of plastics waste in the world: Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and the Philippines. With proximity to two oceans, efforts to improve the management of municipal solid waste in these countries are imperative to reducing plastics pollution, which threatens human health and adversely affects the marine environment.
The Program entails three main components: (1) an USD 3.5 million grants program to support promising municipal solid waste management approaches; (2) an evaluation and learning component to identify effective solutions, lessons learned, and strategic investments that will inform future USAID programming; and (3) supporting international cooperation between USAID and other national, regional, and international stakeholders committed to tackling the problem of marine plastics pollution.