September 26, 2023

Separate plastic waste to make a prosthetic leg

Eifion Williams.  CEO of Circular Economy Wales

Eifion Williams says recycling plastic is the big challenge in reducing waste

Separating waste from recyclables can be seen as a bit of a hassle, but separating different types of plastic in your trash can help someone get a prosthetic leg.

A new plan makes that possible by reusing unwanted plastic instead of sending it to the landfill.

Precious Plastics is launching a project in Conwy and Rhondda Cynon Taf to reduce plastic waste.

The Welsh Government has set a target of zero waste by 2050.

The project makes a variety of objects from different plastics, so the hassle is worth it.

Prosthetic legs can be made from oil bottles, huts and chessboards from bottle caps, and carrying cases can be made from plastic bags.

Eifion Williams, chief officer of conservation group Circular Communities Cymru, said making the most of plastic is the big challenge in creating a circular economy – where materials are reused, not thrown away.

“There are seven different types of plastic and when they are put together and made into a mixed compound, it’s very hard to untangle that,” he said.

“It’s also very expensive, so if we can keep those polymers separate as we keep our paper, cans and glass separate, then we’re taking steps towards the circular economy.”

Precious Plastics is a community-based program that gives towns and cities the chance to join the movement.

Mr Williams said it was not a matter of “just telling people to recycle because it’s the right thing to do, this puts tangible benefits in their hands”.

Andromeda Thomas.  Coordinator of Crop Cycle Treherbert.  BBC Copyright

Andromeda believes that the idea of ​​sorting different types of plastic for recycling is gaining momentum

Andromeda Thomas is the coordinator of the Crop Cycle Treherbert environmental group, which shares a site with Precious Plastic on land formerly used as a gas station in the heart of the city.

“I think people here can see things actually being put into action now, which is really good,” she said.

“I think there’s always a long way to go and there’s always room for improvement, but this can serve as an example for other people and at the same time we can explore different ideas and move things forward.”

Gwynfor Jones, 18, started out as an apprentice on the Crop Cycle program and is now the youngest member of staff.

“Before this project came along, I thought a milk bottle was one plastic, but no, having the lid in a different color shows that it’s a different plastic than the actual bottle itself.

“So you can get plastics with three, four different types in one object.”


Nantycaws recycling center near Carmarthen allows people to buy leftover paint instead of new cans to reduce waste

At Nantycaws recycling center near Carmarthen, a new reuse project called Canolfan eto is also helping to establish a circular economy across the county and becoming a leader in recycling and reuse in Wales .

The goal is
to find new uses for unwanted items that have been thrown away.

Customers can buy furniture, paint, bicycles, garden items and much more, among other things.

It is hoped that programs such as Precious Plastic will help Wales achieve its ambitious goal of achieving zero waste by 2050.

Based on the most recent comparable international information available, Wales ranks third in the world in terms of recycling performance after Germany and Taiwan.

Wales’ recycling efforts prevent approximately 400,000 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year.

Recognizing the need to do more, the Welsh Government said it would soon introduce workplace recycling rules, a ban on single-use plastics and extended producer responsibility.

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