It began with a challenge and a question. We had started to befriend the street boys, feed and house them. We gave them a measure of non-formal education, minimal reading and writing skills etc. We helped them get off drugs, and take responsibility for their lives. Now we had a number of teenage kids, ready to engage life, but without formal schooling.
No one was willing to give them jobs or take them on as apprentices.
It was this that led to the beginning of the Plastic Recycling Plant social enterprise.
Plastic Recycling Plant – The Short:
- Nepal’s only recycling plant for PET-plastic bottles
- Located in Pokhara, Nepal
- Recycling 1,000 metric tons of plastic (or 40 Million bottles) per year (2018)
- Social enterprise with more than 60 employees
- Producing highest quality plastic granulate for bottle production
- Making a positive impact on Nepal’s economy and environment
- Home to the HimalayanLife Vocational Training Program with up to 12 trainees
- Incorporated as P.LTD with the Department of Industry, Government of Nepal
- Project partner and supervision: HL-Switzerland
Plastic Recycling Plant – The Long:
After being presented with this issue of limited vocational opportunities for the boys, we began to ask ourselves some questions:
What if we had some sort of a manufacturing enterprise, where we could create vocational training opportunities for former street kids, help them to take the next steps towards a lifestyle which is acceptable to society?
What if we could produce/do something that also benefits the country, makes a difference?
What if this could be set up as a social enterprise, modelling a different approach to business, incorporating the idea of social justice?
What if this enterprise could in fact generate income that would then be used for the operation of the work with the street children, the shelter and the soup kitchen?
The idea of a PLASTIC RECYCLING PLANT was born.
At Himalayan Life Plastics we collect and recycle roughly 75 tons of plastic bottles per month, which is the equivalent of some 3 Million bottles. The bottles are sorted according to colour and kind, and subsequently processed to the highest quality plastic granulate. The granulate is then sold back to the bottlers, and used in bottle to bottle recycling.
Presently, the plant employs 70 staff. Jobs are typically given not so much to those who have good qualifications, but to those in great need.
Photos courtesy of Peter Schaeublin (www.peterschaeublin.com)