Perhaps because it’s such a peaceful, stable country by African standards, it’s often easy to forget that Tanzania is still incredibly poor. With an average annual income of just a few hundred dollars, and a huge portion of the population still barely scraping out a subsistence lifestyle, certain kinds of infrastructure a westerner might take for granted are still impossible in many areas of the country.
That’s why we’re so excited about TENA Recycling, which launched its pilot plastic-recycling program in Arusha in December. Previously, there was essentially no feasible way to recycle in the country—the framework just wasn’t there—and Tanzanians would often just abandon plastic waste on the roadside, throw it in landfills, or burn it, releasing noxious chemicals into the air. Now TENA is stepping in to fill that void.
TENA, which takes its name from the Swahili word for “again,” is offering one of the first comprehensive recycling options in northern Tanzania
Photo: TENA Recycling
For a subscription fee, TENA will install a recycling bin at the participating company’s main office. TENA will then regularly empty the bin, hauling away the plastic waste (a huge problem in the country, since so many safari companies and tour providers rely on bottled water to provide safe water to guests) for recycling. TENA will also offer its partners training materials related to recycling and waste management. In a country where the idea of recycling is still relatively new, this educational aspect is of vital importance.
TENA will also set up a bin open to the general public, who otherwise wouldn’t have viable access to recycling.
Thomson Safaris has already partnered with TENA, and the Tanzania operations have set up a bin at their Arusha offices. We’re thrilled that this important step towards preserving Tanzania’s stunning natural beauty is finally underway.