The Recycler Sathi program was started in 2019 and is supported by the Coca-Cola Foundation. Creasion already recycles up to 300 metric tons of PET every month and plans now to move on to other plastic types such as PP (Polypropylene), PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) and MLP (Multi-Layered Plastic).
Plastics thrown haphazardly into rivers and streams cause flooding, and pollution, affects the water cycle and harms aquatic species and wildlife in the region. Microplastics have been found in Nepal’s rivers, and has been traced to human blood.
Recycling can derive many benefits. On one hand, it cleans up the natural environment, and on the other, some 15,000 informal waste workers in Nepal predominantly from the Tarai and India can improve their living conditions and be financially independent.
Through the Recycler Saathi program, Creasion works closely with waste workers by providing them compensation under a fair pricing system to sell plastic recyclables instead of paying middlemen. These workers are also trained to run their own enterprises, and receive fire extinguishers, helmets, shoes, gloves and jackets to work at collection sites and waste sorting centres.
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“We work with the workers to provide them with training and safety tools. We also run development capacity training so that they regain dignity in the profession,” adds Mishra. “Waste management should be a formal occupation and the workers can contribute to the GDP.”
Even so, most waste workers were initially reluctant when the organisation told them about fair pricing and safety measures — since the informal scrap recycling industry was run by a syndicate. The Covid-19 pandemic turned out to be a boon for Creasion which was able to earn the trust of workers by providing them with rations, safety and even legal aid during the crisis.