According to the Eco Brixs recycling center, an estimated 500 tons of plastic waste has been collected in the Masaka district over the past four years.
According to people leading a campaign to clean up plastic waste in the area, most of the dangerous plastic materials were collected in the suburbs of Nyendo, Kyabakuza, Kimaanya, Katwe, Kirumba and the Bukakkata and Lambu landing sites on the shores of Lake Victoria.
Rev. James Ssendege, the initiator of the campaign, told Daily Monitor that they are “striving for a plastic-free environment by recycling plastic into reusable products to preserve biodiversity”.
He said their campaign was recently sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Masaka, which donated half an acre of land, where they are starting a Shs3b plastic recycling factory with Mr. Andy Bownds, the managing director of Eco Brixs Uganda.
Mr Bownds said that once the factory is complete, they will be able to increase their plastic waste collection capacity from 30 tons to 55 tons per month.
“The factory space will house the new machinery, including a meltblown machine that converts PET plastic bottles into fibers, a crusher that makes plastic flakes for processing, a 4X extruder machine that will allow us to continue innovating in plastic wood, and a 2X injection molding machine that creates designs that are specifically tailored to the customer’s needs, “he explained.
In an interview on Saturday, P. Ssendege also stated that they aim to create green, sustainable jobs in order to lift people out of abject poverty.
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Currently, the group has set up 30 municipal plastic collection points and active plastic education programs in 29 schools in both Masaka City and Masaka District.
Products made from recycled plastic
P. Ssendege said they use plastic waste to make products such as tough plastic timbers, which serve similar purposes such as wooden or concrete poles, dog houses, tables, desks and frames.
Other products include; Fiber used for protection from Covid-19 and the manufacture of personal protective equipment and interlocking bricks that are used in the construction of low cost housing units.
“All of these materials are becoming alternatives to wood and soil, reducing deforestation and brick-making, which damage the environment and the fragile ecosystem. We also plan to expand our coverage beyond the southern region and go to other regions like West, East and Kampala, but Masaka will remain our satellite city, “he said.
An estimated 700 tons of plastic are used every day in all of the country’s major cities. Multiply by 365 you have over 300,000 tons of plastic per year.