Circular economy market opportunities in Zambia

The Zambian Circular Economy Study 2023 was conducted under The Accelerated Growth for SMEs (AGS) Programme private sector development initiative, funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. The overall aim of the study is to understand the market needs in Zambia and business opportunities for the private sector in the circular economy space based on raw material available in Zambia for recycling and manufacturing.

Circular economy offers opportunities to eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials, and regenerate nature. Zambia generates large volumes of waste that contain significant value. In order to capture this value, waste materials and products need to be separated and recovered into circular systems, which can contribute to growth of the economy, job creation, climate change mitigation and green growth.

This study identified ten opportunities which, when combined present an economic opportunity estimated at US$ 712 million through capturing available raw materials for sale to existing markets, conversion into energy or manufacturing into valuable end products - in particular to substitute imports with locally produced alternatives.

Ten identified opportunities in CE in Zambia


1: Separation and collection of waste: 55% of waste (2.05 million tons) is not collected each year, equivalent to 638 football fields piled 1 metre high with waste.

Opportunity: separate waste into wet and dry and expand waste collection services.


2: Trading of valuable waste streams: 891 thousand tons of waste has potential for recycling. This is equivalent to 44.5 thousand truckloads covering 980 km head-tail.

Opportunity: trading valuable waste materials on existing markets (local and foreign).


3: Waste to energy: 2,23 million tons of food and residual waste is available for biogas and incineration, which could supply 522 thousand households with clean cooking fuel or electricity.

Opportunity: biogas from food waste electricity from residual waste streams.


4: Textile pre-processing and export: 149 thousand tons of textile waste is available annually. If recycled into fibres, these could make 13.5 million t-shirts.

Opportunity: cutting and shredding textile waste and exporting PCW derived fibres.


5: Glass recycling and manufacturing: 149.2 thousand tons of glass waste is available annually, which could produce 13.1 million 340ml bottles and substitute imports 100%.

Opportunity: recycling waste glass into bottles to meet local market demand.


6 & 7: Production and repair parts and equipment: 335.5 thousand tons of scrap metal and 138 thousand tons of eWaste is available annually.

Opportunity: developing local equipment repair capacity and producing simple spare parts from available scrap metal.


8: Centralised organic fertiliser production: production of biofertiliser from organic waste and animal manure.

Opportunity: 2.2 million tons of food, garden waste and animal manure is available which could produce 237 thousand tons of biofertiliser: 21,190 truckloads.


9: Onsite compost production from crop residues: 151 thousand tons of crop residues available, could produce 29.7 thousand tons of organic compost to replace 5,033 truckloads of chemical fertiliser.

Opportunity: products and services for compost production from crop residues.


10: Animal feed production: 1.23 million tons of food waste available could produce 86 thousand tons of insect meal and feed for 2.3 million chickens every year.

Opportunity: produce high-protein insect meal (BSFL) from urban food waste.


For more information and the full copy of the study, please visit the AGS Programme’s website: toiselle web-sivustolle.)