Zomba youths recycling plastic trash into bricks


By Michael Chiotcha

Youths in Zomba under an organization called Trash 2 Cash Team are making bricks from plastic trash.

The leader of the newly formed organization called Trash 2 cash team, Lumbani Mvula, said they have harnessed this as a readily opportunity to convert trash into products that can be sold.

Mvula cited poor dumping of plastic refuse as cause of environmental degradation and low crop production in affected areas, leading to food insecurity.

He said Malawi uses over 1.5 million tons of plastics per year, of which only 5% are being recycled and 2% re-used. Plastics take 500 years to fully decompose.

“Toxic substances reach into the soil when plastic bags perish under sunlight, and when they are burned, they release harmful substance into the air causing ambient pollution,” Mvula said.

He said the team’s mission is to assist in the goals of Malawi 2063, and to achieve global aims of reducing plastic waste and its inherent toxicity and threat to the planet.

“The innovative way is aimed at dealing with Malawi’s problem of excess plastic waste and reducing the deforestation problem through provision of cheaper bricks, and to financially help individuals who sell plastic waste to them,” said Lumbani.

He further added that Trash 2 Cash team buys plastic waste locally and converts it to bricks by melting the plastic. Thirty percent of the plastic molten material is mixed up with 70 percent of sand and they are able to make 50 bricks a day which are much stronger than cement bricks and retail at far less, at MK250 per brick when compared to MK850 for cement brick.

“Our Interest in the project is growing and the team aims to open other depots and collection points and employ more staff. So far, ten people are employed, mostly women, thus meeting the requirements for gender equality and female empowerment,” said Mvula.

He added that for some years they have been involved in the making of environmental friendly briquettes and recently moved into making of bricks from plastic trash.

Mvula said with all the strides, the team is facing challenges and approaching funders to enable the purchase of a machinery to replace the old equipment to allow for a speeding up of the conversion
process and a vehicle to collect plastic waste from further afield.

He added that the workers alao need protective equipment for their health and security, and a fundraiser has been initiated to raise money for this purpose.

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