WE FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT BY ENSURING OUR PLASTIC BOTTLE FLAKES ARE USED IN LONG-LASTING AND HIGH-QUALITY PRODUCTS, WE ARE ABLE TO RE-PATTERN PEOPLE'S MINDS AND STOP THEM FROM PERCEIVING PLASTIC BOTTLES AS WASTE - BUT AS A PRECIOUS AND USEFUL NEW RESOURCE.
One of our main goals is to have a positive impact on the people that are a part of our business. In our feasibility study we learned that the government of Ghana began collaborating with the private sector to offer better waste management services to its citizens. At the same time, an informal economy emerged in which resource collectors achieve higher collection rates than the formal sector. These collectors are often economic migrants living at the bottom of the pyramid, with hardly any chance of alleviating poverty.
rePATRN does not intend to build a new collection system, but rather tap into the expertise of the resource collectors and make them the main source for plastic bottles. In taking them on as permanent staff, and thereby formalizing the informal, we offer them health care and social security - benefits they could not gain access to before.
As important as it is to get plastic bottles out of the environment, it’s equally crucial to educate people on how to prevent them from getting there in the first place. For that matter we have partnered with Environment 360. Through their recycling program, plastic bottles are diverted from household waste to dedicated bins. Clean bottles are then sold to rePATRN and the proceeds used to fund environmental education for children throughout Ghana. We believe that in the long run they are the most powerful agents for positive change.
This will help us at rePATRN to receive higher quality material while less pickers are needed in the streets and more work can be done in the safe environment of our factory.
Plastic bottles are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which is produced from crude oil. It's a clear, lightweight yet strong plastic of the polyester family. Because of its durability, it has emerged as a popular choice in food and beverage as well as textile industries worldwide. But there is one major problem: Plastic bottles never go away as they take at least 450 years to degrade.
Ghana currently has no solution for the treatment of plastic bottle waste and is considering a ban of the material. Plastic bottles pile up on the streets, in gutters or landfills. This causes an acute issue: the blockage of drains, resulting in massive and damaging floods.
A proper disposal offers the chance to recycle plastic bottles and use the resulting flakes in a variety of products. Recycled PET does not require any crude oil for its production, whereas it takes approx. 1.9kg of crude oil to produce 1kg of new PET. The production as well as incineration of that 1kg create approximately 6kg of CO2 emissions. The use of our flakes can save 2.5kg of CO2 emissions per kilogram of recycled PET.
Plastic bottles are very hard to get rid of. Unless we manage to establish a closed loop in which they can be collected and recycled into new bottles, we don't improve the current situation. Our goal has to be to add long term value to the material and create products from it that people will want to keep.
On a mission to demonstrate how valuable plastic bottles can be, we’re looking to collaborate with partners who make the best use of the material’s versatility. Partners who share our belief that waste is really a design flaw, and that design products that are to be re-integrated in the production cycle once they’ve reached the end of their purpose. Or products that are to be recycled in an efficient manner which minimizes their ecological footprint.
We firmly believe that by ensuring our plastic flakes are used in long-lasting and high-quality products, we are able to re-pattern people’s minds and stop them from perceiving plastic bottles as waste - but as a precious and useful new resource.