National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) has expressed its commitment to support industries in promoting circular economy.
NIRDA was joining various stakeholders in the inaugural National Circular Economy Forum that brought together experts from the industry and environment sectors.
The forum that took place on Thursday in Kigali discussed strategies of advancing a circular economy also known as zero waste economy, which is characterised by extracting the most value possible from all kinds of resources.
Such a system, experts say, minimises natural resource use, waste, emissions, and energy by closing energy and materials loops.
Participants were tipped on how the principles of the circular economy including long-lasting product design, maintenance, repair, reuse, remanufacturing refurbishing as well as recycling, can help to boost profits and make business more competitive.
Speaking during the forum, Dr. Olivier Kamana, Head of Applied Research and Development and Foresight Incubation Department at NIRDA said the circular economy should be integrated into all sectors and industries to boost productivity and profits.
“We have to promote a circular economy as it is imperative for businesses to survive and thrive. We are ready at NIRDA to support industries to promote the circular economy,” Kamana said.
“Every industry can improve its production efficiency through a systematic intervention,” he added.
Kamana stressed that continuous and collaboration between government, Privates, Civil Society Organisations (CSO), Development Partners and Circular Economy Service Providers was one way to address the identified challenges.
There is already a positive impact for promoting circular economy in Rwanda.
Quoting figures by Cleaner Production & Climate Innovation Centre (CPCIC) which is under NIRDA Kamana said that 33 companies reported reduction of their operational costs and saving up to $3,295,958 between 2014 and 2017 against $3,111,805 that was invested.
Such companies also reduced waste water generation by 147,024 m3 and the energy use reduced by 30,072,285 MJ while solid waste generation reduced by 7,256 tons.
The decrease of carbon emission totaled to 22,437 tons and 918,905 Tons of material use.
According to the Minister of Environment, Dr.Vincent Biruta, Rwanda has been working to align its economic transformation with environmental protection and conservation.
The Minister said the government recently established the Cleaner Production and Climate Innovation Centre, which is hosted under National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA).
“The centre will be a one-stop centre of excellence which provides and promotes access to cutting edge and modern green technologies as well as business services for enhanced productivity, advancing the circular economy, and boosting climate resilience, competitiveness and environmental compliance,” he said.
According to Coletha Ruhamya, Director General of the Rwanda Environment Management Authority, the private sector stands to gain from being part of the fight against plastic pollution and promoting the circular economy.
“There are many opportunities for the private sector in the circular economy and we welcome the many companies who are already taking up their responsibility, fighting single-use plastics and making the shift to the circular economy," she said.
"Investing in reusable alternatives like water dispensers, jugs and glasses is not only good for the environment but also cost effective,” she added