Recycling paper for fuel within the Gambian tourist industry

This is an initiative by the DEEN Trust which was established by a group of active environmentalists to address, in a pro-active and practical way, waste management issues in The Gambia based on commercial principles but with the ultimate goal of preserving our environment and raising awareness of environmental issues with the Gambian tourism industry.

The Paper Trail works with various bodies within the Gambia to separate paper waste at source into special sacks. DES – a private waste management company committed to providing the highest quality services in accordance with environmental and professional principles collects these sacks as part of their normal waste management contract and accumulates sufficient in their depot to justify a delivery to PRSP.

PRSP – The Paper Recycling Skills Project (PRSP) was founded in 2001 as a charitable, self-funded community based organization and is now well established as the foremost recycling organization in the Gambia. They have pioneered a compressed bio-mass fuel briquette made from waste paper. PRSP is currently funning a fully-funded pilot project with a major international NGO to establish an industrial scale briquet manufacturing production facility to turn paper collected by DES into biomass briquettes (together with other organic waste materials found in the environment).

DES collects these briquettes whilst delivering further waste paper which is then distributed to commercial outlets and sold at an affordable price to hotels, businesses, schools and even private homes as a fuel to replace scarce wood. This full circle saves not only fuel when collecting and distributing waste paper, but creates commercial benefits for all partners involved while helping to keep the environment cleaner, create employment opportunities and raise awareness that “green business” is GOOD business.

To gain maximum publicity the initiative will be launched at a regional Tourism Fair held in Banjul at the end of November 2010 and staff training and implementation will follow soon after. This is the first waste management scheme in The Gambia and will in time be expanded to other industry sectors beyond the Tourism sector – represented by the Gambia Hotel Association (GHA) which is parterning this initiative.

The Gambian Tourism Sector creates a large amount of paper and cardboard waste. This is either burned by staff or collected by contractors and then dumped into landfills. At the same time most of these establishments purchase wood as one of their energy sources for either cooking or heating water to be used in kitchens, laundry rooms or guest rooms. Creating waste on one side without responsible disposal means and burning wood from ever depleting forestry resources are both damaging to the environment and commercially unsustainable. The GHA is showing great leadership in co-operating with this initiative.

Greenie – the ‘mascot’ for the project is connected to another environmental education initiative which works with schools to raise awareness of the need to protect and conserve the environment. Using Greenie as a mascot for this project will help raise awareness and support for the two related projects within the Gambia. (See Project 211 for more information.)


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