Plastic has become an essential aspect of our lives. However, the growth in the usage of plastics is a major contributor to environmental degradation in Mongolia. Thus, Caritas Czech Republic in Mongolia (CCR) is helping to reduce the harmful effects of plastic on the environment and support micro, small and medium entrepreneurs in the recycling sector under the Sustainable Plastic Recycling in Mongolia project that is funded by the European Union, EU SWITCH-Asia programme and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.
There were over 20 plastic recycling factories in Mongolia but several of them have unfortunately closed down due to the financial stresses and lockdown regulations that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought. Therefore, Caritas Czech Republic in Mongolia has collaborated with the “Green GAP” project team of the Zorig Foundation to conduct business analysis for three recycling companies to support their sustainable activities.
MetroPlast Co.Ltd. is one of the recycling companies to be running its operations without any break during this unprecedented time. The company has been manufacturing vacuum window plastic frames and plastic pipes partially made from recycled plastics since 2011. D.Altangerel, the owner of the MetroPlast, shared with us his story, the struggles that he has been facing, and various solutions to overcome them.
The reason to start his green business
D.Altangerel is an electronical engineer who started his business 10 years ago. At that time, the mining and construction sectors were booming in Mongolia but almost all of the products and semi-products for all sectors were imported from foreign countries, especially from China. He then decided to manufacture environmentally-friendly products domestically. When D.Altangerel started his company to recycle plastics, he did not make any profit for the first two years due to a lack of experience in the recycling sector and also insufficient business research. However, he did not give up and continuously looked for solutions to improve his business. Gradually, his business operations improved and found success.
Now, the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused many issues to his business. One of the biggest problems for the recycling company is the lack of human resources. Although the company has the capacity to hire 35 employees, there are only 21 employees in total.
“We have been looking for new employees for a long period using many kinds of hiring channels and HR consultancies. Since COVID-19 restrictions were imposed during the last two years, it has been difficult to find new employees. I think that an inappropriate welfare system that disseminates free money to the workforce influences this issue. It discourages people from working because they receive money without any effort. Additionally, some of our imported raw materials are constantly delayed at the border due to the regulations related to the COVID-19 pandemic lately,” said D.Altangerel, owner of the MetroPlast recycling company.
Small support for the right place and right purpose
Being resilient is crucial for every green business in this period of time. In order to support green businesses' resilience, we conducted a business analysis for the MetroPlast Company to help them improve their business operation.
We recommended that the company needs to expand sales channels. The sales completely rely on only traditional sales methods and channels in the business analysis. In the future, the company should pay attention to having multiple sales channels including social media. Furthermore, it needs to improve employees’ productivity by introducing Kaizen and 5S methods into human resource management.
“We are grateful that our company was analyzed at all stages from the daily decision–making to strategic goals and planning. As a result of this study, the recommendations to improve our activities were developed and delivered to us. We are planning to reflect these recommendations in our business plan of 2022. Moreover, the business analysis emphasized that some of our customers have a negative impression of our recycled products. Unfortunately, this is accurate. Mongolians tend to think that the quality of recycled products is not good enough and they are not aware of the benefits of recycled products for the environment,” said D.Altangerel.
Recycling not only saves natural resources and energy and helps protect nature, but also creates employment opportunities. Let’s support green businesses and protect our environment together!
About the project: CCR implements the Sustainable Plastic Recycling in Mongolia project supported by the European Union, EU SWITCH-Asia programme and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, along with four project partners: Environment and Security Center of Mongolia, Ecosoum, Mongolian Sustainable Development Bridge and T.G. Masaryk Water Research Institute. It aims to strengthen the transition towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient circular economy in Mongolia. Click here for more information about the project.