Plasticcycle is a Social Entrepreneurship Project by John Keells Group with an aim at reducing plastic pollution, through encouraging reduction in the use of single-use plastics, supporting responsible disposal and promoting recycling initiatives. Plasticcycle was launched in July 2017 with a vision of being a catalyst in significantly reducing plastic pollution in Sri Lanka. Our oceans and waterways are among the most visible victims of plastic pollution, with serious impacts to wildlife and their habitats. The mismanagement of plastic waste has resulted in our landfills and the environment exceeding their carrying capacities. The John Keells Group, acknowledging the fact that products and services provided by the Group also contribute to this problem took the initiative to find sustainable solutions in the areas of plastic, where gaps in the system result in large volumes accumulating in the environment.
Plasticcycle continuously promotes the 4R’s – ‘Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’, and strives to raise awareness among the general public to encourage behavioral change. By using both traditional and digital methods, to induce behavioral change. Some of our work in this area includes encouraging young change makers who are our future leaders, through awareness sessions conducted at schools and inspiring commitments through the Plasticcycle pledge, to reduce their plastic footprint.
We have also worked with public sector stakeholders including Municipal Councils - to educate the those on ground in the value chain to appreciate and understand the importance of responsible collection and management of waste and how their work can make a difference to the country and the Marine Environmental Protection Authority to empower the coastal communities educating them on the importance of preserving the beaches and reefs around the Country.
With the aim of providing avenues for responsible disposal, Plasticcycle has placed specially designed bins in selected locations in around Colombo, with expansions to the Kalutara and Gampaha districts in partnership with the Sri Lanka Recyclers Association (SLRA).
Based on the positive response to the bins, Plasticcycle has now expanded to include popular retail outlets, housing developments, recognized sports complexes, Schools and Universities as well as places of recreation.
Working in partnership with the Sri Lanka Recyclers Association and manufacturing companies such as Eco-Spindles, a subsidiary of the BPPL Holdings PLC, has resulted in the manufacturing of value-added products using the plastic including monofilaments for cleaning tools and yarn for fabric manufacturers worldwide.
Most plastics that wash up on the coasts/beaches are considered unrecyclable due to the level of contamination by impurities such as sand and sea water. As a result, large amounts of plastic waste that gets collected along the coastline are deemed unacceptable by local recyclers.
With a focus on providing a sustainable solution to this problem, Plasticcycle has joined hands together with the Sri Lankan Navy on a collaborative pilot project by contributing to the development and testing of a prototype chamber to produce value added products using non-recyclable plastics.
If successful, on completion of the pilot phase, this project can be replicated to other parts of the country where the accumulation of non-recyclable plastic waste is significant.
Further a change agent known as ZeroTrash is one of the organizations that works closely with Plasticcycle, contributing to the recycling initiatives in the country with a specific focus on the Western Province. Supported by Elephant House, partners such as ZeroTrash bridge the gap between households, corporates and the recyclers with initiatives including online platforms to streamline the process of collection.
Plasticcycle has also signed an MOU with the University of Sri Jayawardenepura led by the Centre for Advanced Material Research to come on board as a technical partner to find workable solutions to reduce plastic pollution in Sri Lanka.