Possibilities for the Re-collection and Recycling of Long-Lasting Insecticide-Treated Nets (LLINs) in Sub-Saharan Africa

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The United States Agency of International Development (USAID) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have relied heavily on the distribution of bednets to curb malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, WHO has recently recommended a massive scale-up of its distribution of long long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs). Many nets in circulation are already reaching their end-of-life stage, and with more nets on the way USAID and WHO are concerned that discarded nets will have negative impacts on both the environment and human health. This master’s project addresses two issues of concern for USAID’s LLIN technical team: 1) whether a disposal/recycling program is a possibility for manufacturers and donors, and 2) whether there are realistic possibilities for retrieving nets from the field after they have lost their efficacy. Research on these issues was conducted through a literature review and a series of interviews with manufacturers, donors and other stake-holders.

Results indicate that take-back and recycling programs could be a possibility. Manufacturers are receptive to the idea of more environmentally friendly practices including recycling old nets and using biodegradable packaging. They are also continuing to develop technology to make recycling nets a possibility. Additionally, the World Bank’s estimate for cost of recycling programs is feasible for donors at this time. Existing recycling programs in developing countries have also provided models of successful examples for take-back programs in sub-Saharan Africa. They highlight the importance of education and the value of using existing infrastructure for sustainable programs with high success rates.





Koehrn, Kara (2009). Possibilities for the Re-collection and Recycling of Long-Lasting Insecticide-Treated Nets (LLINs) in Sub-Saharan Africa. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/1021.

Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.