Plastic waste and climate change in Bangladesh’s garment industry


Start date: 1 April, 2024 End date: 31 March, 2029 Project type: Research projects in countries with extended development cooperation (earlier Window 1) Project code: 24-05-SDU Countries: Bangladesh Thematic areas: Climate change, Economic development and value chains, Waste management, Lead institution: University of Southern Denmark (SDU), Denmark Partner institutions: BRAC University (BRACU), Bangladesh Aalborg University (AAU), Denmark Project coordinator: Jan Vang Total grant: 9,999,977 DKK

Project summary

Bangladesh has emerged as a hub for garment production. This has contributed to job creation and reduction of poverty. The problem is, however, that it has also resulted in much plastic waste. Plastic waste that both contributes to local pollution and to global warming/climate change. In Bangladesh the plastic either ends up in landfills or in the local plastic waste industry. The plastic in the landfills emits methane.; an aggressive greenhouse gas. In this project we zoom in on how we can reuse the plastic ending up in the landfills. The plastic not ending in the landfills - or directly in the natural environment - ends up in the local plastic waste industry. The local plastic waste industry basically consists of sweatshops with not focus on greenhouse gas emissions, despite that it relies on production processes leading to both air pollution and climate change. The local industry provides jobs to people on the bottom of Bangladesh's society. It is therefor crucial that the industry is not just closed in the name of sustainability and climate change but is transformed into being more sustainable. Our project pays special attention to how the industry can become sustainable, we include attention to the dilemmas associated with the global garment firms in this context. Finally, we work with developing new policies that can help transforming the plastic waste industry further. We expect that the project results in new relevant academic knowledge, actual changes in the local plastic waste industry and in policy recommendations.

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