Thursday, 19 March 2009

Trash for Cash

A really cool project that recycles ordinary plastic wastes into practical products like shower curtains, bags, pencil cases, computer haversacks and even umbrellas.
A brain child of an Indonesian friend of mine, Aswin, whose aim was two fold when he started this project. “One was to help people less fortunate than me and the other to make a decent living so that I can support my family”, he said.

It looks that he is beginning to succeed in both areas. Ordinary trash plastic is sold for about six Singapore cents a kilo by Aswin pay sixty Singapore cents for the type of plastic he is looking for e.g. detergent packs etc.

This ten fold increase in price benefits the trash picker and his family immediately, especially nutrition wise during this economic downturn 36 year old Aswin is a qualified air-craft technician who did part of his training with Singapore airlines in Singapore

His training reflects his demand for strict quality control of the recycled products, for instance, thread need to stitch the plastic together is of high quality, water proof synthetic thread, the same type used to sew aircraft seats. Zippers used are branded names.

Aswin presently employs 9 full time staff ie 5 sewers, 2 cutters and 2 washers. They are all paid above average wages with incentive bonuses for output and targets met; they also have a profit sharing scheme for end year profits. 3 free meals are provided for all staff.

Business is expending rapidly, he started by buying around 80 to 100 kilos of plastic trash and is now buying around 500 to 600 kilos each week

Plastic is a major pollution problem in Indonesia, they block drains and canals and are a major contributor to terrible floods in the city. Its people like Aswin who helps by recycling some of this trash that would otherwise be buried in dumpsite ( Where they take anywhere between500 to 700 years to disintegrate) or worst incinerated releasing deadly toxins in the air which is not only a serious health hazards but contributes directly to global warming

We are helping Aswin to sell these products in Singapore to help raise funds (and awareness of this plastic menace especially to the young) and more importantly to eventually start a “trash for cash” Educational foundation where we can send the children of the trash pickers to school. We both believe that education is the key to get there children away from their vicious ring of poverty. These stylish recycled products will soon be sold at Ubin Green House.


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