Slums Going Green and Clean have created Micro-Recycling Centers to solve the plastic waste problem.
Rather than transporting garbage to distant processing centers to be sorted and recycled, Micro-Recycling Centers are housed directly within a community of approximately 3,000 households in an informal settlement. These centers employ four to six workers who earn a living wage and are outfitted with a shredder, plastic slicer, heat press, and molds that can process up to 200 kilograms of waste a day.
Waste pickers collect plastic waste and bring it to the micro-recycling center. Workers at the center handle the waste and process them in one of the three ways:
- High value plastics are separated out and sent to existing recycling companies.
- Hard lower value plastics (such as PVC) are shredded to become additives in concrete.
- Low value plastics (which make up close to 90% of plastic waste) are inserted unwashed and unsorted into a heat press. In just 20 minutes, the low value plastic is transformed into structural components.
The components are molded to construct goods such as tables and chairs, trash bins, panels, and fence posts. These objects can then be sold for a profit directly back to the community that houses the micro-recycling center. These products are sold at a lower price than similar products made of virgin materials.