Plastic recycling initiative broadens ambitions
Samoan Entrepreneur Andrew Pedrana and his business partner Ella Strachan started a plastic recycling project two years ago that was initially to recycle plastic for the Coffee Bean Café which Mr. Pedrana owns but whose ambitions have grown much wider.
After a great amount of research, they found a plastic company in Europe that made plastic recycling machines. They looked into excess plastic from the café but other places that could use the service too. And so Plastic Recycling Solutions Samoa (P.R.E.S.S.) began.
In July last year the project received its first funding for plastic recycling from the Samoan Civil Society Support Programme after which the business partners had started organising to get the machines as well as starting workshops for other businesses to participate.
Mr. Pedrana says that although the plastic project started small it is now gaining momentum he says that now small businesses are interested in collecting their plastic and donating it for use.
Since then he has purchased a collection of bins to put in places including the Australian High Commission and the New Zealand High Commission.
“The idea is to change people’s mindset around plastic being a throw away item and promote and raise awareness towards the four R’s of plastic which is reduce reuse recycle and recover” he said.
He then explains the process of recycling the plastic is a complicated undertaking:
“From the collection of plastic we gather we separate into their types and then into different color groups and eventually into new products.
…unfortunately we can’t take all types of plastic such as plastic number 1 which is referred to as PET (polyethylene terephthalate) for example bottles that drinks come in, like sprite bottles or coke bottles those we cannot take. Plastic we can take include Plastic 2, 5 and 6 which include juice and milk bottles, plastic bottle tops or food packaging containers egg cartons etc…With all the bins that are being set up there will be clear instructions on what type of plastics we can take…”
“The point of the program we are trying to convey is just to educate people on the use of plastic there is more life to plastic other than the one time use… If a recycled comb is broken, anyone could bring it back so we can give it another life- meaning the contents of the plastic can be broken down again and made into a new comb hence ‘giving it another life’ to recycle and reuse instead of buying another comb”
The project is looking for schools, universities, and others to relocate the machines and start working with P.R.E.S.S by providing storage and workshops for communities and schools.
Although this is but a single project resources are accessible all over the internet and can help everyone do their part, Mr. Pedrana says. He states that recycling plastic is more than a two-person job but should be a global movement.