Finding new uses for aid packaging in Mozambique 

Learn how ShelterBox and its partners are supporting the reuse of packaging from aid materials in Mozambique.

11 July 2024

People holding waste from aid materials in Mozambique

When we respond to a disaster, we don’t want to add to the issues people are facing. As part of this we want to reduce the amount of waste from our aid materials. But aid items like tarpaulins need to be wrapped during shipping to protect them. In Mozambique, our partner CARE Mozambique has been giving aid packaging a new life.

To develop ways to reuse aid waste, CARE Mozambique set up a committee. The committee has been collecting the plastic tarpaulin bags and leftover strips. They also collect the plastic baling straps use to ship materials. This waste was then distributed households to use. They’re prioritising vulnerable families, such as child headed households. The materials can then be used to improve shelters.

Women collecting bundles of aid waste in Mozambique
Women in Mozambique collecting aid waste for reuse.

Some tarpaulin packaging and straps are being used to create walls and doors for latrines in Macomia. Women had said that they had faced harassment when using latrine. It’s hoped that the added walls and doors will protect women and reduce such incidents. It’s a great example of how reusing waste can help a community.

Members of a Women Girls Safe Space have also been reusing the waste materials. They have turned leftover bags and tarpaulins into carpets. They also plan to turn waste materials into items like baskets and footballs.

As we aim to reuse our packaging, other organisations in Mozambique are trying similar ideas. For example, Save the Children have reused their waste in their child safe spaces. Charities do not want the people we’re supporting to have to dispose of any waste that’s left behind.

Bundles of aid waste in Mozambique waiting to be collected.
By ensuring waste materials from aid packaging are reused, local communities do not need to dispose of it.

Our current work in Mozambique is part of a European Union Humanitarian Assistance (ECHO) supported consortium. The other members are CARE Mozambique, Save the Children and Norwegian People’s aid. The aim is to support people displaced by violence in Mozambique. Learn more about what is happening in the country.

We have sought ways to reuse of packaging in other responses too, like in our recent work in Morocco. Finding ways to reuse and recycle our aid packaging is just one way we’re adapting our aid and responses. We want to put the people we’re supporting at the centre of decisions, working with them as they rebuild. Learn more in our strategy.

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