KABETUL. Plastics recycling workshop.
Senegal has lost control over plastic waste management for several years, becoming one of the most affected countries globally. This doesn't necessarily mean it's one of the largest plastic consumers, but rather reflects the lack of waste management in the country.
The project was carried out in Ziguinchor, a city in the south, in collaboration with the organization Dexde (Design x Development), and it encompasses the entire process of establishing and training a new independent workgroup called KABETUL ("Transform into Diola" in their ethnic language). This group is composed of individuals with functional diversity, specifically deaf-mute individuals with no literacy, thus in a significantly vulnerable situation. The purpose was to provide them with dignified employment that would improve their living conditions, through plastic recycling activities and the creation of products such as jewellery and furniture, for subsequent sale and profit generation from this work. Moreover, this project has successfully promoted a more eco-conscious and plastic consumption-aware perspective, contributing to the sustainable development of their community.
The plastics obtained during this project, sustainably and responsibly thanks to the work of these individuals, are HDPE, LDPE, and PP.
The jewelry is made from recycled PP, while the other objects and prototypes include the three types of plastics separately (PP, HDPE, LDPE). For a recycling process that allows it to be recycled again, different types of plastics should not be mixed.
The process used is as simple as possible, given the available technologies in the country, to ensure that the group of individuals could carry it out and avoid dependence on materials from other countries. Metal and wooden moulds made by local carpenters, kitchen stoves, and a press are used. The plastics are melted at the appropriate temperature, either directly in moulds or transferred to the corresponding mould after melting. The next step is pressing with the counter-mould. Woodworking techniques are employed for post-processing and finishing, with the consideration of saving the leftover plastics for reuse in the next recycling process.
Location: Ziguinchor, Senegal. Project start: 2022
Information submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank.
Recycled plastic (PP, HDPE, LDPE), wood, cork scraps.
NGO: Dexde (Design x Development); Jordi Alberola (Dexde), Begoña Saiz Mauleón (UPV), Centre for Development Cooperation (UPV).