Indonesian Women Entrepreneurs are Turning Waste Shampoo, Chips Packets Into Bricks

Alarmed by the mountains of plastic waste leaching into Indonesia’s waters, two greatest mates are taking up the environmental menace by turning crisp luggage and shampoo packets into paving bricks. Ovy Sabrina and Novita Tan launched Rebricks after their nation drew headlines because the second-biggest producer of marine waste on the planet, behind China. Indonesia has pledged to scale back plastic waste by some 75 p.c over the subsequent 4 years — a mammoth job within the Southeast Asian nation of practically 270 million folks. The pair bought their begin two years in the past visiting meals stalls throughout the capital Jakarta on the hunt for discarded instantaneous espresso sachets, dried noodle packs and buying luggage. Thanks to a viral social media marketing campaign, the pair now obtain reams of plastic waste packaging from donors throughout the nation.

That garbage flows in day by day and is piled excessive on the little agency’s Jakarta-area manufacturing facility.

“It reveals how Indonesians have a robust consciousness of recycling plastic waste, however they don’t know the place to do it,” 34-year-old Sabrina stated.

Rebricks employees mulch the packaging into tiny flakes which might be then combined with cement and sand and moulded into constructing blocks.

They make seem like typical bricks, however break one open and it’s dotted with flecks of plastic. The two entrepreneurs say their technique diverts waste that may have in any other case ended up in a landfill or the ocean — about 4 tons thus far and counting.

“Every day, we will cease about 88,000 items of plastic sachets from littering the setting,” Tan stated, including that the corporate has produced greater than 100,000 bricks.

Some Indonesian cities have banned single-use plastics, however waste recycling continues to be uncommon.

The drawback was underscored in 2018 by the invention of a lifeless sperm whale that washed ashore in a nationwide park with practically six kilograms (13 kilos) of plastic waste in its abdomen.

The Rebricks pair spent two years making an attempt to good their technique, and picked up hints from a constructing supplies enterprise run by Sabrina’s household.

Some Indonesian entrepreneurs are molding plastic waste into flower vases, umbrellas or purses.

But the 2 girls determined to deal with bricks so they might attain extra clients.

“If our strategy was to promote costly ornamental items, there would solely be a number of folks shopping for our merchandise,” Sabrina stated.

The two girls hope to increase their firm, which employs 4 folks, and stated they had been in talks with a giant consumer-goods agency a few attainable collaboration.

Customer Andi Subagio stated he had used the eco-bricks for repaving a restaurant walkway.

“They’re not as fragile as typical bricks due to the plastic inside,” he stated. “And it’s about the identical value.”

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