MECHANICAL UPCYCLING OF PLASTIC WASTE
Mechanically upcycling plastic waste to reduce environmental pollution and improve the villagers’ quality of life
With an estimated 73 million tons of household waste each year and an annual growth rate of 2 to 4 %, indonesian infrastructure remains yet to be upgraded (90% of the country’s dumps are still open-air) and the country is facing critical challenges regarding waste management (Bernstein, 2014).
Indonesia is also the second largest producer of plastic waste thrown into the sea after China. Each year, plastic use is on the rise due to the emergence and rapid development of a wealthier middle class attracted by the Western consumption model, thus preferring processed and wrapped-up products to local fresh ones. Another reason is the use of individual and single-use packaging enabling large companies to sell to the less privileged classes a large selection of products at an affordable price.
At a local level, waste management and garbage pick-up don’t exist. Here is how waste is currently handled :
70 to 80% of waste in Indonesian villages is of organic origins. It is essentially used for feeding domestic animals (cats, dogs, goats, chicken and cows).
A part of this non-organic waste is sold to companies or craftsmen by individuals who buy them from the villagers at a low price: returnable glass bottles (soft drink, beer), plastic water bottles and metal ware. This, however, generates little money and is only considered as an additional income.
Mostly plastic waste but also batteries are either burnt by the villagers or left on the beach or, by the rivers waiting for high tide or rain to wash them away. They can also be dumped in the open air or buried in the villages or nearby. These methods have a strong impact on the environment and the villagers’ health.
Rimba takes action on the third category of waste in order to help the local communities to preserve their environment and improve the sanitary conditions in their villages through :
Several collecting points will be set up in the village. The used batteries will be brought to Rimba Ecologde for customers to pack them and be recycled in their home countries.
Rimba distributed large bags to the villagers to collect plastics. To facilitate this collection, we want to replace them with dumpsters.
Rimba owns a recycling and waste sorting station as well as two machines that turn plastic waste into gas.
To take our project a step further, we wish to distribute reusable cloth bags which will enable the villagers to do their grocery shopping without using plastic bags as well as reusable water bottles to reduce the amount of plastic cups and water bottles.
The recycling station will be used as education material by our Environmental House to sensitize children in the village. We also welcome groups of students from the area on education field trips.
Thanks to a partnership with the Indonesia association GetPlastic, Rimba was able to purchase two machines which turn plastic into fuel.
These machines operate with a pyrolysis system. Plastic is turned into gas, which is then cooled down and liquefied into fuel. One kilogram of plastic can generate 0.7 liters of fuel, which contains 20% of gasoline and 80% of diesel. We reuse this fuel to operate the machine.
A machine with a 5 kilogram capacity is in operation in Rimba. The goal is to collect all the plastic waste produced in the nearby tourist resorts.
Another machine with a 10 kilogram capacity is in operation in the village of Sungai Pinang in a small building built by Rimba. We employ Sisra, a villager, who is in charge of running the plastic recycling station.
7140€ have already been spent to purchase of the two machines, as well as the construction of the building and the awareness and training days.
To complete and securing the project, we still need 5000€ to provide for: