Skip to content Skip to cookie consent

Research reports

Safety first: recovering value from plastic waste in low- and middle-income countries

An independent academic assessment of the safety of plastic recycling approaches used by FMCG companies


The Integrated Resource Recycling Centre in Islamabad. Photo: Hazel Thompson/Tearfund

The Integrated Resource Recycling Centre in Islamabad. Photo: Hazel Thompson/Tearfund

Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies make products that are sold quickly and at a relatively low cost, like packaged foods, toiletries, cosmetics or over-the-counter medicines.

Increasingly, these companies are seeking to increase collection of their plastic waste and recover value from it in low- and middle-income countries.

This independent academic report (2021) assesses the safety of approaches that FMCG companies may use to do this.

In it, eight different approaches – ranging from conventional reprocessing to incineration – are assessed according to their impact on the environment; public and occupational health; and commercial prevalence and maturity. It also includes further assessment of the suitability of these approaches in low- and middle-income countries, including the risk that they may be operated below safety standards.

While the primary audience of the resource is the decision-makers at FMCG companies and activists seeking to influence them, it may also be a useful resource for other actors involved in implementing these approaches in low- and middle-income countries.

Other languages

Share this resource

If you found this resource useful, please share it with others so they can benefit too.

Get our email updates

Be the first to hear about our latest learning and resources

Sign up now

Cookie preferences

Your privacy and peace of mind are important to us. We are committed to keeping your data safe. We only collect data from people for specific purposes and once that purpose has finished, we won’t hold on to the data.

For further information, including a full list of individual cookies, please see our privacy policy.

  • These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

  • These cookies allow us to measure and improve the performance of our site. All information these cookies collect is anonymous.

  • These allow for a more personalised experience. For example, they can remember the region you are in, as well as your accessibility settings.

  • These cookies help us to make our adverts personalised to you and allow us to measure the effectiveness of our campaigns.