Waste Reduction Volunteer Program in Zambia

Get Involved in the Community and Help to Reduce Plastic Waste

This project is a world-first that has won awards for innovation and excellence – it is ideal for people who are passionate about the environment. Volunteers contribute to the environmental conservation movement through sustainable building using EcoBricks, upcycling initiatives, direct clean-up action, and awareness workshops in Livingstone, a small town in Zambia. You will work closely with the local community to find sustainable and practical solutions for plastic waste.

Read more about Volunteering or Interning in Environmental Sustainability in Zambia.

Project Highlights

  • Get involved with sustainable building projects, awareness workshops, and community initiatives that encourage people in a small town in Zambia to use plastic waste to improve their communities and lives
  • Learn how to make and use EcoBricks (a plastic bottle filled with plastic pollution that is used as a brick to build things) on sustainable building projects
  • Host awareness workshops on plastic pollution to educate locals on plastic and its impact on health, wildlife, and the environment
  • Get involved in clean-ups in and explore other ways to get more locals involved in the fight against plastic pollution
  • Form friendships with the locals and learn about the culture of Zambia as you become part of a small community
  • Live next to one of the ‘7 Natural Wonders of the World’ and discover why Zambia is the ‘Adventure Capital of Africa’ on walking safaris, white river rafting on the Zambezi River, and wild camping in the bush
  • Visit the neighboring countries of Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe to experience more African countries
Multiple small scrubs planted in field.

Quick Facts

Livingstone, Zambia

Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport

Specific Start Dates

10 days - 12 weeks

Impact: Environmental Sustainability

$1,955 – $5,150


volunteers watching the sunset over the zambezi river

Livingstone is a beautiful, rural town in southern Zambia just a stone’s throw away from the mighty Zambezi river and the border of Zimbabwe. It is a hub for visitors looking to experience one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World – Victoria Falls, locally known as Mosi-oa-Tunya, ‘the Smoke that Thunders’. Livingstone is the ultimate playground for adventure-seekers, wildlife enthusiasts, and lovers of the great outdoors. Whether you’d like to bungee jump, swim in the ‘Devil’s Pool’, white water raft down the Zambezi, join a river safari or enjoy an African sunset, every experience in Livingstone is unique. The town itself is relaxed and friendly with an intriguing culture and history. Here, you’ll find arts and craft producers, museums, colonial architecture, traditional village life, as well as delicious local food and laidback African lifestyle. 

You’ll be staying in the heart of Livingstone at a private volunteer house within the popular and vibrant Victoria Falls Backpackers Zambia. This comfortable backpackers’ is 15 minutes from Victoria Falls and is a 5 minute walk from Livingstone’s town centre which has many stores and a great selection of cafes and restaurants for you to explore at weekends.

You will have access to a swimming pool, lounge, bar, fire pit area and even a climbing wall! These communal areas offer the perfect space to get to know each other and relax at the end of the day. Bedrooms are dormitory style with bunk beds and shared bathroom facilities, as well as daily housekeeping. The staff can share knowledge about the area and are happy to help organize river cruises, canoe safaris, and trips to Chobe National Park. You won’t want to leave your “new home” as the staff will become your new family!

You will receive three fresh and delicious meals a day cooked by local chefs during the week. For breakfast you can expect cereal and toast, along with a cooked option such as eggs, pancakes or French toast. Lunch could be a wrap, pizza or sandwich paired with a fresh crispy salad. For dinner you might have a pasta dish, curry with rice or an authentic stew. Vegetarian options are available and we can cater to most dietary requirements. At weekends you will have access to the kitchen to make your own food, though most volunteers choose to visit local cafes and restaurants. Café Zambezi makes great traditional Zambian food and is a favourite amongst locals, while Maramba River Lodge is a popular spot for sundowners and Fez Bar is a popular place to hang out with locals and do a little dancing in the evenings!

To keep in touch with family and friends back home, Victoria Falls Backpackers has complimentary WiFi for you to use during your stay. You can also purchase a SIM card with data bundles if you wish.

Weather in Livingstone tends to be stable and sunny from August until late October when the “monsoon” rains start to hit. Either side of this time, the weather is very pleasant. The climate is tropical or sub-tropical depending on altitude, with a hot, humid, and rainy season from mid-November to March and a dry season from April to mid-November. October is typically the hottest month of the year.

Project Impact Areas

Sustainable Building With Ecobricks

A large part of this environmental conservation project will be using what you have collected on mass clean-ups to build things with EcoBricks. It is a relatively new concept of turning plastic pollution into something useful that can be used to build something and ultimately improve communities. Like walls and buildings.

An EcoBrick is a plastic bottle that is stuffed with plastic pollution and turned into a solid ‘brick’. Volunteers have used EcoBricks to build a compost bin, chicken coop and piggery, an ablution block, and benches for schools. We also run a swap shop with school students to encourage them to get involved. The students can swap EcoBricks they have made for stationary, toys, and football jerseys.


Environmental Conservation Workshops

Using our environmental education curriculum, volunteers deliver workshops to schools, community groups, women’s groups, and local businesses on the importance of waste management and why environmental conservation is important.

Building awareness is critical for starting the journey of minimizing waste and can kick-start innovative and practical ideas from local community members that can help get rid of plastic in a constructive and sustainable way. Your workshops will introduce the issues and possible solutions to land waste, water waste, and how waste is affecting people’s health.

Community Projects

Creating practical ways for waste to be reused and recycled is a sustainable way to help locals make an income while also cleaning up the community. You will meet some of the people who are turning waste into products they are successfully selling.

But as an environmental conservation volunteer, you will also get involved with thinking up innovative ways to turn plastic pollution into product. This will include working with our community groups to trial new start-up initiatives that will help reduce, reuse, and recycle.


Environmental Clean-Ups

Litter clean-ups are a fun, quick way to make an immediate impact, and are a great excuse to get outside. The local community of Livingstone is always keen to get involved in these, so you will join large groups who meet up to clean villages and areas of natural beauty, including the banks of the Zambezi and Muramba rivers.

The Zambezi and surrounding national parks are home to some of Africa’s most iconic animal species who are threatened by plastic that flows from the nearby towns and villages. When possible, we also invite our students, women’s groups, and community leaders to join us on these!

Other Activities

Recent Volunteer Reviews


15%off EACH*

Dates & Rates

When would you like to volunteer?

Give us an idea of your travel plans, you can also say ‘I’m not sure yet.’ We’ll take it from there.

How long would you like to volunteer?

This is the place to select your preferred duration(s). The African Impact team recommend at least 4 weeks for a truly memorable experience!

10 days $1955
2 weeks $2150
3 weeks $2450
4 weeks $2750
5 weeks $3050
6 weeks $3350
7 weeks $3650
8 weeks $3950
9 weeks $4250
10 weeks $455
11 weeks $4850
12 weeks $5150

Personal Information

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Volunteers and children in environmental sustainability class.

Project Fee Includes:

  • Airport pick-up and drop-off
  • Accommodation throughout your stay
  • 3 delicious meals a day
  • Transport to and from project
  • 24/7 support from experienced international and local staff
  • Full orientation to ensure you contribute responsibly
  • Project equipment and resources

Project Fee Excludes:

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa-related costs
  • Weekend trips or tours not on the itinerary
  • Snacks, soft drinks, gifts, and souvenirs
  • Mandatory contribution of US$25 that is donated to the African Impact Sustainability Fund

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Frequently Asked Questions

Ecobricks are an innovative recycling technique that takes old plastic bottles and fills them with clean garbage to create strong, multifunctional building bricks. EcoBricks can then create various solid structures, from tiny shacks to fences, tables, and library shelves!

In Africa, many communities have limited to no access to proper waste management facilities. As such, single-use plastics and other litter are regularly left to pile up in residential areas, dumped on the side of the road, or burned, releasing harmful gases into the atmosphere.

Waste pollution is becoming a serious problem across Africa, and there is a great need for collaborative community initiatives that put reducing, reusing, and recycling waste first.

EcoBricks are one of those solutions! By taking excess waste, cleaning it, and using it to build firm bricks, EcoBricks have quickly become a game-changer in sustainably reducing waste and building eco-friendly community infrastructure.

Absolutely! Rather than bringing in new materials to build community structures, EcoBricks reuse and recycle previously discarded items and give them new life. By doing this, EcoBricks also reduce excess non-biodegradable waste from community environments, creating a genuinely cyclical approach to sustainability.

Here’s a fundamental review of the steps of EcoBricking!

– Collect, clean and categorize discarded plastics: The first step of EcoBricking is collecting discarded plastics to fill each brick with. It’s essential to ensure these plastics are clean and dry, so if they previously contained food, give them a quick wash and dry to ensure they are ready to be re-used!

– Stuff your saved plastics in a clean plastic bottle: Typically, a smaller plastic bottle, about 600mL or less, will work best, as they take less time to fill up than a 1500mL plastic bottle. Use a large stick to firmly compress the plastic into the bottom of the bottle, working in small bits.

– Weigh your brick: To ensure the best possible quality when building structures with EcoBricks, it’s crucial to ensure they are the correct weight and density. For a 600mL plastic bottle, aim for a minimum weight of 200g (If you are using another volume of a different plastic bottle, simply multiply the volume by 0.33 to get the minimum weight).

– Place the cap back on your EcoBrick, label it with important information on the side of the bottle (date, your name, weight, etc.) and store it for future use.

Get building!