At Stable Packaging, there is no such thing as trash

recycling start-up mobilises women to rid environment of plastic waste

Upenyu Chaota

Stable Packaging, a plastic recycling company in Masvingo, is helping to improve lives by collecting plastic waste from the environment and recycling it into new usable products.

The company began in 2013 as a small retailer of plastic packaging products but soon transformed into a fully-fledged plastic recycling business and manufacturer of such packaging.

In 2017, Stable Packing imported the requisite machinery and began recycling low density and high density plastic into new plastic bags, bin liners, poly pipes for irrigation and other related products in between.

The recycling work is done at the company’s factory along Industria Road in the city, and the company directly employs 19 people, some of them working at the company’s -+two shops in the province.

At the 2020 Zimbabwe National Environmental, Responsible Business and CSR Awards ceremony, Stable Packaging won the Responsible Investment and Environmental Stewardship Award.

The awards are hosted by CSR Network Zimbabwe and the Environmental Management Agency (Ema).

The company also won the Manufacturer of the Year Silver Award at the 2020 Megafest Business Awards (Masvingo Region) ceremony held at Great Zimbabwe Hotel on April 23, 2021.

Stable Packaging buys much of its recyclable plastic from women-run community health groups that are affiliated to Masvingo City Council and Ema, and whose members often spend a lot of time picking plastic litter from their localities.

Stable Plastics managing director Farai Marecha told EnviroPress that his company was as much inspired by the desire to ensure a cleaner environment as it was driven by the quest to make a sustainable contribution to the local economy.

 “We started with a small shop selling packaging material bought from Harare but we later decided to venture into recycling.

“We recycle mostly low density and high density plastic materials to produce all sizes of plastic bags and plastic film. We also recycle plastic containers of high density material,” said Marecha.

High density plastic waste usually comes in the form of maheu and sterilised milk containers which is recycled to produce poly pipes of sizes ranging from 20mm-75mm.

Low density plastic waste comes often in the form of plastic bags, bin liners and plastic wraps which is recycled to make similar products of all sizes.

“We are glad to be able to work with women who work tirelessly to rid our environment of plastic waste which is very harmful if left unmanaged. We buy the plastic from them and they earn a living which is very important for our economy,” Marecha said.

Stable Packaging has also struck a contract with Lowveld-based sugar manufacturer Tongaat Hulett, and the contract allows the company to regularly collect any bit of plastic that gets damaged or cut off during the sugar packaging process in Chiredzi.

“We also collect plastic from walk-in clients as long as the plastic meets our standards and is clean. For us, recycling is easy because we use locally-available raw materials which means we do not require any imports,” said Marecha.

Irrigation poly-pipes pipes sold by many hardware shops in Masvingo come from Stable Packaging’s recycling plant, and EnviroPress was privileged to witness the production process.

“We are looking at possible ways to expand the business so that we can make an even bigger contribution to the economy while ridding our beloved environment of harmful pollutants like plastic waste,” Marecha said.

He said the company aimed to build capacity to recycle all kinds of plastic waste including plastic water bottles which are among the largest pollutants in the environment.