The Challenge

Our environmental mission is to preserve the Lao nature, and initiate sustainable projects which can reduce harmful pollution and clean up the jungle. 

 

We developed a recycling system that preserves the lush green jungle, in order to secure the livelihood of the natives and the natural playground where the children run around barefoot.  We are currently building a plastic recycling facility in the jungle of Laos together with Architects Without Borders and Empower.

In our pilot project we collected 59,000 plastic bottles full of used plastic. The project worked beyond all expectations, and now we want to go bigger. Someone has to take proper action where the plastic problem is the biggest! We are now in the process of planning how to become a permanent solution in the village, comparable to a vending machine in your local store.

 

The locals collected tonnes of plastic during our pilot project, and we are now left with thousands of Ecobricks ready - not only to be safely sheltered from environmental debris, but to gain new value as building materials. 

This project has been very successful, and now we are building a plastic recycling house in the jungle of Laos!

 

This house will be a community house where everyone can bring their plastic waste to our plastic waste deposit scheme. They give us the plastic, and will in return get a small refund for all the plastic they recycle with us through the Empower plastic fund. The house will also host workshops on various sustainable topics and bring modern technology to the village, as well as a place where we can continue our educational offer.

 

Building a plastic recycling house is a daunting task. 

Therefore, we are so happy to be teaming up with Architects Without Borders. A team of 4 volunteer architects will design the house for us, and we have challenged them to use plastic waste as building bricks in the walls.

Plastics are an important material in our economy, and modern daily life is unthinkable without them.

Over the past 50 years, the role and importance of plastics in our economy has consistently grown. Plastics are inexpensive and durable, and as a result levels of plastic production by humans are very high.

Global production of plastics has increased twentyfold since the 1960s, reaching 322 million tonnes in 2015. It is expected to double again over the next 20 years.

PLASTIC IS THE WORLD´S FASTEST GROWING ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGE...

& HAS REACHED THE DEEP JUNGLES OF LAOS

Many people in Laos come from a hunter-gatherer background, and are used to farming organically and a clean, straight-from-the-nature diet. However, since Laos opened its borders to foreign influence, plastic has appeared even in the deepest parts of the jungle.

Our village is overflowing with plastic waste. Coke bottles, crisp bags and plastic bags can be found on every man-made path, even on top of mountains, by river sides and on the lake. People of Laos has never been given a way to recycle this type of waste, nor have they been informed of the downside of plastic in nature.

In Laos, one “solution” up until now has been to burn plastic in the jungle, which we now know are extremely dangerous. Curbing plastic waste and pollution is a complex problem, given its diffuse nature and the link with social trends and individual behaviour. There is no clear incentive for consumers and producers to switch to solutions that would generate less waste or litter. 

Growing plastic waste generation and its leakage into our environment must be tackled if we are to achieve a truly circular lifecycle for plastics.

But, we must also clean up the mess we have created already.

LET US CLEAN UP THE MESS WE HAVE MADE

When plastics are littered, burned or dumped, they poison the earth, air and water. Stepping up the recycling of plastics can bring significant environmental and economic benefits. When we save, segregate and pack plastics into bottles, we can make building blocks that can be reused over and over again. Together we can build green spaces that enrich our community and the biosphere.  Together we can return to harmony with the cycles of life.

1. EDUCATING

We educate about the dangers of plastic waste, and inform them how to store their plastic in Ecobricks, which are plastic bottles filled with plastic waste.

2. COLLECTING

We collect Ecobricks at our Collection Point, which is the only plastic waste facility in the entire country that we know of.

3. GIVING PLASTIC A VALUE

Everyone who deposit their Ecobricks at our collection point will get money in return with the help from Empower and their Plastic Fund.

4. RECYCLING

The Ecobricks we collect, can be used as building bricks. In the future, we aim to shred, melt and repurpose plastic in other ways. 

GIVING PLASTIC A VALUE

IN THE JUNGLE OF LAOS

Our sustainability mission is to communicate the importance of preserving the Lao nature, and initiate sustainable projects which can reduce harmful ecological processes and clean up the jungle.

That is why we in 2018 initiated Clean the Jungle, a project where we give plastic a value by collecting plastic bottles filled with plastic waste, called Ecobricks. The project is based on the Norwegian bottle deposit scheme; people can deliver their Ecobricks to us, we give them money from Empowers’ plastic fund, and then we repurpose the plastic. 

WE ECOBRICK

An Ecobrick is a plastic bottle packed solid with non-biological waste to make a re-useable building block.  Best of all, you don’t need any fancy machines, special skills, engineers or even politicians to get started.

Around the world people are making and building all sorts of practical stuff with ecobricks.  From indoor furniture, to gardens and parks, to structures– your imagination is the only limit!

We ecobrick.  Why? Well, because after lots of research we’ve found Ecobricks to be the deepest solution for our own plastic.  From raising ecological consciousness to sequestering C02 to transitioning from sustainable to regenerative, there’s a whole bunch of good reasons for Ecobricks.

WE HAVE TEAMED UP WITH EMPOWER

We have teamed up with Empower in Norway to give plastic a value, one bottle at the time. Empower is building a global plastic waste ecosystem based on the same philosophy as the Norwegian bottle deposit system.

We initiated a pilot project in November 2018, where we collected 59 000 plastic bottles filled with 10 tons of plastic waste in a community in the deep jungle of Laos. We paid the locals for each bottle they recycled at our facilities, giving plastic waste a value and fighting poverty whilst cleaning the jungle.

The pilot was hugely successful , and we are now ready to take our mission to clean the jungle one step further.