In 2016 the Sourires Association decided to initiate its plastic recycling project in Chiro. Here, as in most of Cambodia, the plastic bottles and the tin cans are sold back and eventually recycled, but the plastic bags and other waste are simply burnt or left to litter the landscape. Plastic bags in Cambodia are a big issue: many of them are just thrown away and it takes around 400 years to decompose; the rest is burned along the road for hours. There are bad consequences because of plastic bags as health problem for people, death of many animals, soil pollution and bad visual impact on landscapes. Sourires Association and OBT NGO want to involve against this problem by recycling plastic bags in bricks or pavements.
COLLECTING THE WASTE
The project will provide an alternative by setting up waste bins and a waste collection route along the main road that goes through Chiro. Plastic bags will be separated from other trash, which will be responsibly disposed. For that purpose, volunteers realize some short prevention and explanations interventions for OBT students and villagers. Moreover, several bins were distributed near the schools and in the shops of Chiro village to collect plastic bags. These bins present three compartments: one for plastic bags, one for organic wastes and one for non recyclable waste. The collection of waste takes place two to three times a week.
RECYCLING PLASTIC BAGS TO BRICKS
The plastics will then be melted and mixed with sand before being converted into bricks that can then be used for construction. These bricks are more durable than traditional ones and thus should be competitive in the market. Several tries were already performed and gave encouraging results. Three local employees will be hired to manage the project. This number should rise as the project evolves. The generated income will help sustain the project as well as generate revenue for OBT in the future.