Eco Spindles marks Global Recycling Day; boosts plastic recycling efforts in Sri Lanka
Commemorating Global Recycling Day 2022, Sri Lanka’s leader in plastic bottle recycling, Eco Spindles (Pvt.) Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of BPPL Holdings PLC, announced its plans to accelerate the expansion of its Material Recycling Facilities (MRFs) around the country.
Eco Spindles, together with its project partner Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka, introduced its MRFs to collect multiple forms of recyclable waste such as aluminium, glass, paper and other forms of plastic waste, to help develop and strengthen regional waste collection networks and process the collected polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles.
The objective is to increase the collection and recycling rates in the regions where the facilities are commissioned. The company aims to establish one MRF per district by the end of 2024 and will ensure that recyclable waste is collected through partnerships with schools, local authorities, waste collectors, volunteers and coastal communities.
Over the last year, the company has made significant efforts to boost and strengthen the plastic recycling sector in Sri Lanka by recycling 62 million PET bottles between 2021 and 2022. Since its inception, Eco Spindles has recycled 452 million PET bottles.
Commenting on the strategy, Eco Spindles Recycling CEO Manoj Udawatte stated that “MRFs will send their vehicles to collect this recyclable waste and pay the collectors. The collected recyclable waste is then taken to the facility, where PET plastic, for example, is segregated, baled, and crushed. It is after this process that Eco Spindles receives this PET from the facilities, and we turn this into value-added products such as recycled polyester yarn and monofilaments used in brushes and brooms, to name a few.” In addition, the other forms of collected waste are sold to other manufacturers, including glass bottles, aluminium extrusion and paper producers.
“When we initially commissioned our MRFs, there were around 70 collection points, and now there are about 220. By the end of this year, we will strategically establish 400 collection points which entail a network of bins and bags to drop off consumer plastic and other recyclable waste around each MRF,” he added.
So far, there are three MRFs in Ratnapura, Negombo and Panadura, with another currently in development in Matara. The company plans to add another six MRFs around the country, including in Galle, Anuradhapura, Kandy, Kurunegala, Gampaha and Trincomalee, in 2022/23.
Additionally, the company raises awareness on proper plastic waste disposal methods through its ‘Waste 2 Value’ app. There are 447 bins placed around the Western Province to dispose of recyclable waste, which can be located through the app. The company aims to increase this figure to 700 in the Western Province alone. In other areas such as Anuradhapura, Galle and Matara, there are over 100 bins. The company aims to increase this figure to 300. There would then be over a total of 1,000 drop off bins in set locations by the end of 2022.
“Despite the challenging state of our economy, I am proud to say that we have moved forward and ensured that our operations and expansion plans are successful, and we aspire to drive further our sustainable practices towards a strengthened circular economy and greener society,” commented BPPL Holdings PLC Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer – Dr. Anush Amarasinghe. “With the pandemic and loss of jobs, we have and will continue to provide opportunities for lower-income communities to earn wages through recyclable waste collection. We ensure that our collectors are incentivised and rewarded for their efforts.”
Eco Spindles is also renowned for its efforts to influence and educate school children on identifying recyclable waste and disposing of it responsibly. For example, its MRF partner in Ratnapura, Ceylon Emerald Way, has targeted more than 100 schools to educate school children on proper waste plastic disposal in the Ratnapura District alone and also is in the process of providing waste plastic disposal bags and bins.
Eco Spindles has been credited for its relentless efforts to encourage and maintain sustainability, their primary business objective. Eco Spindles was the only company from Asia to have won a global IFS Change for Good Sustainability Award in the ‘Most Innovative Solution for Sustainability category in 2021 and was also ranked among the top 10 at Recycling Heroes of 2021 at the International Recycling Heroes Awards organised by the Global Recycling Foundation for Global Recycling Day in 2021. The company was also the 1st runner-up for the Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award 2021, awarded by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.