ABSTRACTDemand for raw materials for production of goods has risen particularly among industrialized and emerging economies. The rise in demand for raw materials has led to shortages and high priced materials. In striving to meet the high demand, among other options, countries worldwide have turned to recycling as an alternative source in order to reduce dependency solely on virgin or primary raw materials. In developing countries, recycling is an emerging industry.
This study aimed to investigate the recycling industry as an emerging source of raw material in Namibia. It was a case study on an emerging economic sector involved in waste recovery, raw materials processing, manufacturing and subsequent purchasing of produced goods and sought to develop a conceptual model to guide waste recycling and management in Namibia. This study was a case study qualitative in nature employing interviews, document search and observation to collect data to achieve various objectives namely: to investigate the motives and extent of involvement of companies in solid waste recycling in Namibia, examine legislation and policies, guiding waste recovery and recycling in Namibia, investigate emerging waste recycling trends, recycling value addition processes and associated benefit chains, establish local and regional operational network linkages in the industry and to come up with a model to guide waste management in Namibia. A qualitative approach was the most suitable in the exploration of this new industry which has not seen much research, particularly in the field of economic Geography in Namibia. The units of analysis comprised recycling companies in Namibia. Both purposive and accidental samplings were used to select the companies.
The data was analyzed manually using content analysis and presented in descriptive narrative with some illustrative tables and figures.The study showed that recycling industry in Namibia is still in its infancy with most of the activities still concentrated in the recovery, collection and semi processing stage of the recycling chain. Materials recycled include plastic, paper, glass, cans, scrap metal and electronic waste. Little manufacturing of these raw materials and products is done locally. Most of the final processing and subsequent production of new goods is done outside the country a situation which may disadvantage the country in terms of industrial and economic growth. A host of challenges still hinder the potential success of the industry.
Despite these challenges, the industry is a welcome development in the country as it has become a source of employment as well as a waste reduction measure. Networking within the industry both local and regional facilitates its survival.The study recommends for an Integrated Recycling Model for Namibia which could assist solid waste management.
Such a model could promote a culture of recycling, review of legal and regulatory framework, building technical capacity through the establishment of Recycling Fund and development of program of action including an establishment of a national database of recyclable waste.