This project is a cooperation between Engineers Without Borders – Denmark (EWB-DK) and SP, a local partner organization in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The project is based on the Precious Plastic community and concept. Precious Plastic is an open-source project, sharing knowledge, blueprints, and experience with plastic recycling, aimed at local and small-scale recycling and manufacturing.
Plastic pollution is a major problem in all parts of the world today, especially in poorer countries without advanced waste management systems. Problems caused by plastic waste pollution include attracting pests, spreading disease, flooding and biodiversity loss. Because of the severe downpours during the wet season in Sierra Leone, plastic waste clogging the canals and creeks cause significant damage due to flooding.
These problems can be reduced by creating an incentive to collect and recycle the plastic, by enabling it to be used as a raw material, benefitting UN Sustainable Development Goals on Good Health and Well-being (#3), Sustainable Cities and Communities (#11), and Responsible Consumption and Production (#12). Furthermore, recycled plastic can replace the use of other raw materials, such as wood, and collection and production of the recycled plastic products will also help create jobs and opportunities for the local population.
The project consists of basic tools for plastic recycling: a shredder and an oven, as well as guidelines for collection, cleaning, and manufacturing of recycled plastic products. Community engagement and education is also a key element of the project, to change the view on plastic. This project is a pilot project involving 2 communities, Kannigo and Potter, and benefitting 100-200 people and their local communities. the experience and knowledge gathered in this pilot project can then be used in later follow-up projects on a larger scale, to advance the circular economy of the whole town.