With plastic pollution in ours oceans becoming an increasingly large concern, and with Anova’s business operating under the philosophy of Healthy Oceans, we felt it was important and in line with our company’s ethos to try and address this issue. Waste management is extremely complicated due to the mass amounts of waste generated on a daily basis, the lack of separation of waste types at source, as well as the insufficient infrastructure available to process it accordingly. Particularly in Indonesia, where very little waste management and recycling infrastructure exists, much of the plastic waste ends up polluting the environment – rivers, fields and the oceans.
In the summer of 2021, Anova founded a CSR project at their HQ in Bali, Indonesia, focused on collecting and recycling plastic waste. The project is called Ocean-Bound Plastic (OBP), a term coined to describe plastic waste ‘at risk of ending up in the ocean’. It is estimated that around 80% of the plastic waste found in our oceans originates from land; thus, focusing on capturing this OBP is an important and effective way of reducing this threat to our oceans.
Inspired by the open-source platform Precious Plastic, we began learning about the different types of plastic, the recycling process, and different machinery available to facilitate each of these steps. We built ourselves a washing station where we could sort and wash plastic waste that we would collect from our environment, and bought ourselves a second hand pizza oven to re-melt plastic into slabs or sheets. We spent many months learning the ins and outs of recycling using this basic set up – from the difficulties in washing different plastic types, removing labels, separating caps and lids and sorting all plastic according to the 7 known categories, to the different results in shredding and melting different colours, sizes and quality of flakes. We were successful in creating plastic sheets that we used to produce various items for our office – products included chairs, drawers, desks and coasters.
Eventually we upgraded and invested in a proper melting machine as used by the Precious Plastic community. This enabled us to melt large sheets measuring 1m x 1m, elevating our capacity to produce a greater variety of products. We have started to sell some of our products in shops locally, and are receiving custom orders for a variety of products including shop displays, furniture, home decorative items and even fashion accessories. Working in the recycling plastic sector feels like a never-ending learning curve, we are always running into new obstacles and we are constantly problem solving! Nevertheless, we remain optimistic and are working hard to overcome these obstacles as they arise. While our workshop capacity is small and we are struggling to keep up with the demand, it is extremely rewarding to know that we are stopping waste from ending up in a landfill or in our oceans on the daily and instead, see it be transformed into something new!
We are working with several venues across the island to collect their plastic waste. In doing this, we avoid the plastic being mixed with other waste – which would require an additional and labor-intensive step in the recycling process to sort and retrieve the desired pieces. We also avoid the plastic deteriorating as it sits in a landfill or in the environment before it is recuperated, where it would be exposed to sun, wind, water and likely to come into contact with other substances that could impact the quality and consistency of the plastic waste. To date, we have collected over 300kg of plastic waste from 12 venues. In other words, we have ensured that over 300kg of plastic does not end up in the landfill or in our oceans and instead, have transformed it into new products.
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