The Kaduwela Municipal Council opened the first of four Plastic Recycling Centers at Dedigamuwa as a pilot to improve standards in plastic waste collection and apply environment, health, and safety best practices.
The Plastic Recycling Centers, supported under United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Clean Cities Blue Ocean activity will sort, clean, and bale or crush large quantities of plastic in the municipal areas for commercial recycling.
“The Plastic Recycling Center is a significant step towards strengthening the role of informal waste collectors through a plastic recycling model developed to increase the recycling rate”, said Douglas Sonnek, the Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Colombo. “During the U.S.-Sri Lanka 75-year partnership, we have supported such interventions, contributing towards the transformation of discarded plastics into valuable resources, as well as education and researching, and the engagement of local communities in the waste management process”, he said.
USAID support provided essential machinery and equipment, including a crusher and baler machine, to the recycling center among other equipment, such as a scale, trolley, and jumbo collection bags. The workers also received safety equipment such as first aid kits, personal protective equipment, and fire extinguishers.
“Collecting and recycling waste is a service to the environment as well as to people to reduce the damage caused by improper waste disposal to the environment. I am very glad that I can contribute to this service with the support of USAID CCBO and Janathakshan”, said Krishantha Vidanagama, Managing Director, Green Step Private Limited.
This model piloted in the Kaduwela Municipal area will be replicated in Galle in the coming months to promote sustainable waste management, foster the integration of informal waste collectors into a formal system, and create a cleaner and more environmentally-friendly country. “Investment in recycling gives double dividends. On one hand, it improves the economy of the country by saving the expenditure on plastic material importation while creating employment opportunities for marginalized communities. On the other hand, it reduces the negative impacts on the sensitive ecosystems by diverting the plastic waste which will otherwise be added to the environment for recycling”, said Anil Jasinghe, Secretary of the Ministry of Environment.