OSC Recycling & Sustainability Service Group

A reflective blog exploring recycling & sustainability initiatives at the Overseas School of Colombo

Recycling Plastic in Sri Lanka…a 2012 update

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The author at the Battaramulla scrap yard/recycling center

Plastic is a material that can be, and should be recycled. Knowing that our planet is now beginning to run out of resources, we should instead of wasting them, begin to recycle more and think more economically friendly. Our IB Geography class from The Overseas School of Colombo made visits to the nearby collection centers to see and learn about recycling in Sri Lanka. We were introduced to the different types of recycling that take place especially in our surrounding community. Once we walked into the large mess of different collected recycling materials I straight away noticed that majority of it was metal. Plastic did not strike out, and clearly was not one of the main materials to be recycled.

After asking questions and interviewing the workers, we found out how the collection business works. Plastic recycling is a process where used up plastic is collected and separated to the different plastic types. From here, they are later melted or reprocessed into useful products. The collection centers only process the materials and then later forward them to recycling instances where it is reused rather than thrown away. The centers profit from this as they sell the plastic for a higher rate than what they get it for (buy for 25rs/kg and sell for 35rs/kg therefore profiting 10rs/kg). Individual people and companies, both, bring in recycling material that the collection centers pay for. Sri Lanka imports 160,000 tonnes of plastic raw materials each month (Sri Lanka News).This is not as much as in some countries in South Asia, but it is believed to increase in the future as Sri Lanka is to develop.

The collection centers are very specific on what they take in to be recycled. We found out that for instance plastic bags and small plastic items were not accepted by the centers. What was accepted were big plastic containers, plastic bottles and other preferably hard, big sized plastic objects. The collection centers being so particular in what they accept to be recycled, does not therefore solve the issue of trash and pollution on the streets and around us. The smaller pieces of plastic that are not being recycled as a result end up burnt or buried underground polluting the environment.

Recycling plastic is not popular in Sri Lanka just yet, but may and should be in the future. It benefits our planet as well us in the long run, so why not help now?

Work cited:

“Sri Lanka Promotes Waste Plastic Recycling – LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE.” Sri Lanka News, Economy and Business from Lanka Business Online. Web. 26 Mar. 2012.

article copyright Sara Saletro 2012

Written by recycling1011

2012-04-23 at 5:17 AM

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