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How to give plastic a second life

How to give plastic a second life

Meet eCollabo8, it’s a Bali based company that recycles HDPE (High-density polyethylene) plastic using an extruder or sheet press to make new items. Their vision is to reduce plastic waste through recycling and collaborations to make an impact and inspire future generations. 

We met with one of the founders in what is their first creation, a small bungalow complex built out of old furniture and refurbished pieces of wood and metal. There is where they experimented with tiles and sheets made of recycled plastic. The walls are decorated with colorful plastic tiles, refurbished traditional Balinese doors, and the main bungalow, where we met, had some visually interesting furniture made of recycled plastic sheets and metal structure. 

This project started in Bali last December, the founders were inspired by an engineer in Ghana that mixed plastic with asphalt to build roads, but when they looked into the machinery it was very costly. So instead they invested in an extruder machine, how it works is they collect HDPE plastic, like bottle taps, that they shred into small pieces and then melt into sheets of new plastic, the sheets can be as thin as 4mm which makes it easier to bend into different shapes. They also have a laser machine to cut the sheets into different shapes, like license plates, decorative figures, and key chains. 

In order to get the used plastic, they collaborate with the local waste collecting company as well as buying plastic from people that collect it from the streets. The fact that they need to buy some of the plastic and need to mash it and process it can make the items a little more pricey than what people would expect from recycled items. 

Besides making tiles, furniture, and decorative items they also collaborate with a local artist that is making a plastic dolphin that will be placed around Bali to create awareness of how polluted our oceans are.    

On top of it all, they sponsor a local orphanage by donating 20% of their profits (the seeds of hope) and they organize a workshop once a week for the kids to learn new skills and discover any hidden talent.  

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