Delineator, the epitome of one man’s trash is another man’s treasure
“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” Diksha said, as she picks up one of the delineators made up of plastic waste. A total of 1,350 delineators were produced from 157,950 recycled shrinks and plastic waste in Thimphu.
Diksha from the Greener way said that delineators are one of the primary products of eco-poles. It aids in the achievement of a circular economy, “firstly, it is locally manufactured from recycled post-consumer plastics, and secondly, it helps reduce the reliance on landfills.”
She shared that today our country could not recycle all of the plastic waste and only 20% of the waste that is generated is recycled, still, 80% remaining is disposed of in landfills due to the restrictive recycling environment enabled by several factors.
However, easy and cost-effective ways to reduce waste and wraps are one opportunity for involvement, with producing delineators paving the way towards creating a better recycling environment. “We can substitute the imports of mild steel delineators from the neighboring countries,” she said.
Diksha said that they had used about 1.5 kg, which is around 100–120 pieces of plastic bags made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) combined to make one delineator.
“So, to produce 1,350 delineators, they had to use approximately 2,025 kg (about 148,500 pieces) of plastic bags, reducing a great deal of waste in the country.
In the case of market demand, she shared that eco-pole, fortunately, is in high demand, with farmers being their primary target customers. She also added that, as for the delineators, currently it is a pilot project, and if things go as planned, “we are expecting a huge number of supply orders with the support of the Minister of Work and Human Settlement (MoWHS).”
Furthermore, Diksha said that currently they are focusing on recycling as much plastic waste as possible and are exploring ways to increase their recycled products. “We intend to gene innovations from waste and wraps shortly,” she said.
There are also a good number of youths that are taking part in their company; she said, adding that every year they receive a good number of young people willing to work for their company and that they are trying as much as possible to create a space to employ them.
She said that most of the students were willing to work with them during vacation. “It is especially students during the winter and summer vacation, we are flooded with requests from students wanting temporary work,” Diksha said.
Meanwhile, she said that it takes about 3 minutes to make one delineator, plus an additional 30 minutes for preparing the raw materials, including the collecting of waste, sorting, and shredding.
In the meantime, one delineator costs Nu 350.
One of the challenges is people’s refusal to segregate the waste at the source, despite numerous awareness campaigns, she said, adding that although the problem is not as severe as it used to be, with the onset of “night collection.”
“It can be noticed that a lot of people often dump both dry and wet waste together into the “refuse garage truck. Which results in an extra mess for the workers at the material recovery facility,” she said.
Furthermore, she said that dry waste becomes contaminated, making it unfit for recycling, and ultimately all wastes end up in landfills, where they emit harmful greenhouse gases (GHGs).
In addition, she said that the establishment of drop-off centers has limited the issues of improper disposal of waste along the streets and vastly aided in the convenience of the public; however, she added that people have resorted to dumping both dry and wet waste without segregation in the drop-off center.
“This defeats the whole purpose of establishing the drop-off centers, as they were built with the notion of receiving neatly segregated waste,” she said, adding that the drop-off center sector often gets ignored and is not preferred.
“At least career-wise, thereby making it difficult for us to find human resources who take pride in working as garbage collectors,” she said.
She mentioned that institutional barriers, as highlighted in the National Waste Management Strategy for 2019, are one of the greatest challenges they face.
However, The Greener Way is forever indebted to youths throughout the country who have taken the time to learn about waste management issues and spread awareness regarding the need for segregation at the source.
“Moreso, we are impressed by the number of cleaning campaigns the youths are leading. This gives us hope for a better future with efficient and effective waste management systems in the long run.”
She also said, “We are also aware of three projects in the pipeline by young people to recycle plastic waste, and we are working very closely with them.”
Nidup Lhamo from Thimphu