Naga Earth Plastic Recycling Project

Video courtesy of Libby & Marcel

Turning trash into jobs for rural Cambodians

Less than 20 years ago, Cambodia was a country largely devoid of plastic waste.   The local markets packaged food using banana leaf or other natural and biodegradable materials.

Banana Leaf Packaging Cambodia

How times have changed.  A recent Fondazione ACRA survey has found that the average person living in Cambodia uses about ten times the number of plastic bags as their counterparts in China and Europe.   As a result, the Cambodian countryside is now awash in plastic.

Plastic Wast Cambodia

Making the problem worse is the fact that rubbish removal is only available in the largest cities.  This leaves most rural Cambodians with no choice other than to burn their trash, which is largely made up of plastic.  Many Cambodians are unaware that plastic releases toxic gas when burned and allow their children to play among the smoldering rubbish.

Burning Trash Cambodia

What is the solution to these problems?

Creating good jobs that encourage people to utilize waste plastic instead of burning it.

Meet Naga Earth  A non-profit that has been working to solve environmental problems in Cambodia for the last ten years.  At our factory in Siem Reap, our engineers turn rubbish into usable products. 

Naga Earth Factory Siem Reap

Our latest and most exciting initiative is dealing directly with the problems of waste plastic and poverty in the Cambodian countryside.   Naga Earth is building small-scale plastic recycling machines that rural Cambodians can use to turn trash into useful products.   They will be simultaneously cleaning up the countryside and providing for their families.

The machines are inexpensive and Naga Earth will set up micro-finance programs that will make them affordable to the average Cambodian.  

Plastic Heated Press

The easiest and most inexpensive machine is a heated press that costs less than $300 and will convert used plastic bags into awnings, umbrellas or plastic tarps.

Plastic Bag Recycling Cambodia

Initially Naga Earth will set up a production and training area at our factory to build table umbrellas.   Then we will start marketing the umbrellas to our network of partners in the hospitality industry.   The stylish, recycled plastic umbrellas will be made from sustainably grown bamboo provided by Bambusa Global Ventures.  We expect to have a strong market for these umbrellas in Siem Reap and around Cambodia.   

Bamboo Umbrella Cambodia

Once we are sure that we have established a market for the umbrellas we will work with our partner NGOs to identify Khmer families that would benefit from these machines and be able to provide for their families by operating the machines and building umbrellas.  We will help set up micro-financing for qualified individuals and provide free training to help them understand how to safely operate the machine.  We will also provide training to make sure the user understands how to make high-quality umbrellas.

To ensure the beneficiary has a market for their products, Naga Earth will purchase the umbrellas and market them to the tourism industry.  We expect someone using this machine daily to be able to pay back their micro-finance loan in less than six months.

Naga Earth will make no profit from the purchase of the machines and will provide all training for free.  If a profit is made by selling the umbrellas, that money will go back into our organization enabling us to run more environmental and social projects, such as producing hygiene soap for distribution to local schools and working to recycle glass bottles.

Precious Plastic Machines

For dealing with hard plastic waste, Naga Earth has started building small-scale recycling machines based on the open-source Precious Plastic model. 

 

Precious Plastic Machine Cambodia

These machines will be utilized at our factory to recycle plastic waste from the hospitality industry.  Plastic previously getting burned or ending up in the public landfill will be converted into useful items.

Plastic Recycling Machine Siem Reap
Precious Plastic Machine Siem Reap

Potential Products

With the extrusion machine it is possible to make recycled plastic filament which can be used in a 3D printer.   The molding machine is capable of making any number of plastic products.

Precious Plastic Products Cambodia

How you can help this project

Make a donation to the campaign.  Help to create micro-businesses in Cambodia that will reduce poverty, clean up the countryside and prevent plastic pollution.

Naga Earth Plastic Recycling Project - Crowdfunding Campaign