SOCIAL ENTERPRISE: PET-Bottle Recycling
In order to meet the needs of the street-kids in a sustainable matter, HIMALAYAN LIFE is in the process of setting up a PET bottle recycling plant in Pokhara, Nepal: HIMALAYAN LIFE PLASTICS P.LTD
This plant, in conjunction with communal and educational programs, will allow the street-children to gradually transition out of their present predicament marked by abandonment, homelessness, garbage-picking, addiction, lack of education, gang-membership, and increasing criminality.
Besides the actual recycling plant, HIMALAYAN LIFE PLASTICS will consist of a centrally located collection center where (a) PET bottles are collected and (b) all the street-children programs (food, shelter, education) take place.
Post-consumer PET bottles will furthermore be collected throughout the city, particularly in restaurants, malls, and schools, and subsequently trucked to the HIMALAYAN LIFE PLASTICS plant. Likewise will we buy all collected PET bottles from other (non-HL) scrap yards and street vendors other than the street-kids.
Goal and Mission
Goal and Mission
HL Plastics will commence a PET collection operation and processing plant located in Pokhara, western Nepal, thereby
(1) collecting and recycling post-consumer PET bottles
(2) producing high-quality RPET flakes to be sold on the south-Asian market
(3) creating job opportunities for the socially and economically marginalized
(4) creating a working and learning environment for the street children where they can transition from exploitive-child-labour to working-children
(5) creating vocational training opportunities for graduating students
(6) addressing the issue of plastic waste
(7) changing garbage disposal patterns in Pokhara and make Pokhara the first plastic-recycling city of Nepal
Such a social enterprise, in fact, fits in well with the overall vision of HIMALAYAN LIFE: investing in the lives of thousands of Himalayan children thereby making a lasting transformative impact on their communities.
Currently, no plastic recycling facility exists in Nepal. Collected plastics are singularly shipped to India for processing. HL Plastics has thus the unique opportunity for setting the tone in this new industry.
HL Plastics will therefore establish itself as the first and leading PET reclamation enterprise in Nepal, whereby reclamation comprises of (1) the collection of PET and (2) the processing of used PET to RPET-flakes.
Owing to well established connections to Pokhara’s tourist industry and to the trust already built with the various gangs of street-children, HL Plastics is uniquely positioned to launch a PET collection network, thereby channeling the post-consumer PET stream directly to the HL Plastics recycling facility (bypassing the dump).
The RPET-flakes will be sold to plastic plants such as bottle manufacturers, preferably in Nepal but possibly also to India and China.
 RPET = Reclaimed PET
The facility will be set up as a social enterprise, addressing the following issues:
- street-children: create opportunities for the street kids to be in a suitable working and learning environment, rather than having to endure the hardship of rag-picking and exploitation. Recycling (in its worst form) has been established as the domain of the street-kids. This opens up the opportunity of guiding the children in small, manageable steps in the transition from exploitive child-labour to working children with educational opportunities.
- unemployment: creating job opportunities for the socially disadvantaged (often low-caste, uneducated), as a real alternative to the oftentimes singular option of selling themselves into a situation of bonded labour.
- creating job and apprenticeship opportunities for graduating kids from the various homes and hostels associated with HIMALAYAN LIFE and SFMN.
As a social enterprise, HL Plastics will have its priority not on maximizing profits alone, but strive towards incorporation of social justice as a very central aspect of the business.close
Collection / Sourcing of PET
In excess of yearly 500 metric tons of post-consumer PET beverage bottles are ready to be collected and available as feed stock for HL Plastics in Pokhara alone. Currently, the majority of the post-consumer PET bottles are dumped in landfills or burnt. Some are collected and exported to India.
Significant effort will need to go into creating sustainable collection patterns in order to change the use-and-throw behavior to a use-and-recycle behavior. We are planning on casting a wide collection net, utilizing the large tourist industry with its 500+ hotels and restaurants as collection points.
Envisioned is a PET collection network which …
- allows for the street children to slowly transition away from their existence in the garbage dumps
- allows for PET to be collected efficiently
- fosters and engenders the idea of recycling and environmental concern
Specifically, we are thinking of highly visible collection bins at the major hotels and restaurants of Pokhara’s tourist industry, as well as collection bins at the bigger schools and markets. The bins will be supplied and maintained by HL Plastics. Under loose supervision, street-children can do the regular rounds to collect the bottles from the recycle points and deliver them to the plant.
At the same time, street-children less willing or able to change their former pattern of scavenging may continue collecting from the dumps and will receive the same price for PET.
As soon as possible, social and educational programs will be introduced to the children’s schedule.
 PET from tourism: 400,000 visitors annually, with an average stay time of 1.7 days, consuming 2 liters of bottled water and 0.5 liters of pop per day. 400,00 x 1.7 x (2+0.5)= 1,700,000 bottles @ 20,000 bottles per ton è85 tons of PET per year
PET from domestic use: population of Pokhara is 350,000, assuming consummation of just one bottle per month and person… 350,000 x 12= 4,200,000 bottles @ 20,000 bottles per ton è 295 tons of PET per year
Growth and Development
Potential Growth and Development
A huge potential exists for developing HL Plastics upwards along the value chain of PET: Later possible developments include producing building materials, panels, industrial Big-Bags, blowing PET bottles, extruding plastic foil, making plastic lumber, and so on.
Secondly, HL Plastics at a later point of time can be replicated in Kathmandu or any of the other larger cities of Nepal, contingent on the local availability of PET, of course. The street children issue unfortunately is a given in any of these cities. From a social and environmental point of view, the replication of HL Plastics elsewhere is therefore very desirable.
A third possibility for growth is taking on more variety of recyclable plastics, such as HDPE, LDPE etc. Potentially, the PET recycling line will have ample capacity and capability to partially cover the recycling process of other plastics. Hence, an expansion in this manner would be cost-effective with regard to the initial capital requirement.close
Pokhara has been chosen as location of the proposed enterprise primarily because of the invaluable existing connections as mentioned above. However, the sheer size of Pokhara’s tourist sector as well as the relatively small industrial sector are factors in favour of this location.
With regard to accessibility and transportation, Kathmandu or one of the industrial towns in the proximity of the Indian border would be more ideal (Pokhara is located 200km West of Kathmandu and some 240 km Northwest from the major border crossings to India).
Just outside Pokhara, the government of Nepal has set up an enclosed industrial area, where plots of ca. 1.5 acres can be leased at fairly low rates, whereby the access to the lease has to be bought from previous tenants along with any pre-existing infrastructure.
The advantages of the industrial area as locale for HL Plastics are manifold: on-site security, guarantied electric power for 12 hours per day (as compared to 4 hours elsewhere), no need for building permits, low cost…close