Malaysian Senator, Adrian “Banie” Lasimbong, started Creat Borneo with a vision to create renewable energy sources and improve the quality of life of the people within his constituency, while reducing negative human impact on the environment.
This includes minimizing plastic pollution and bringing clean waterways back to his home in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.
CREATE Borneo website states “There are no greater stakeholders in a land than the people who have lived on it for centuries. Our priority at CREATE is to equip indigenous youth with the means to preserve their culture while competing in a growing economy and taking responsibility for their environmental stewardship through appropriate technologies”.
Education and empowerment hold many of the answers to the social and environmental issues faced by indigenous people.
The Problem that Plastic has become to Indigenous People
For millennia the people of Borneo have simply discarded food packaging and other food storage containers without a lot of planning, as they were made from organic materials such as bamboo, coconuts, and banana leaves.
As organic waste is completely biodegradable, people could dump their waste in a nearby river or forest where it would decompose, or burn it in cooking fires without harm to themselves or the environment.
The relatively recent, and growing, introduction of plastic food packaging into this scenario has significantly reduced the use of organic materials and replaced them with materials that are not biodegradable. Plastic packaging lasts for hundreds of years in the natural environment and is harmful to human health when burned.
Single-use plastic is the main contributor to local plastic pollution. While the materials have changed, consumption and disposal habits have largely remained the same. With education, assistance and knowledge of alternatives, current social practices and habits in remote communities can be reprogrammed.
Providing Simple Alternatives
Loop2cycle has supplied CREATE Borneo with a Plastic Microcycling Machine that allows them to use collected plastic waste to create a broad range of quality consumer products. This process reduces plastic waste entering the environment.
The machine is also used to undertake education initiatives in schools as part of roadshows, and loaned out to NGO’s who want to enhance the impact of their clean-up projects.
One unique item that CREATE Borneo manufactures with their loop2cycle machine, is a key part of a hydro-electric generation plant. Turbine blades are being made entirely from plastic waste collected from the community.
CREATE Borneo is producing small hydroelectric generation plants that are powered by rivers and set up in remote areas. These plants produce around 5 kW of power and reduce the requirement for fossil fuel-generated electricity, for a small village. They have 16 sites operational and more are coming online.
Within the generating plant, small blades (spoons) are bolted together to form a turbine. These blades have been made from locally collected waste plastic and processed with the loop2cycle Microcycler machine.
High pressure water from fast flowing rivers is introduced to the Hydro plant housing and spins the turbine. This then turns the generator and creates electricity.
The benefit of using plastic blades (spoons) is lower cost, less corrosion, and less plastic pollution for a cleaner environment!
A Reason for Hope
People’s ingenuity and efforts continue to be invested all around the world to reduce the human footprint and preserve our environment for future generations. It is often the smaller places that need our support to get projects started and to become self-sustainable.
To reuse single-use plastic waste to create new products, that can be used for years to come, is such a simple and sensible thing to do.
Everyone who is buying or making products made of new plastic should seriously consider the use of recycled plastic. It maybe slightly more expensive to buy recycled, but the environment gains a huge benefit. The outcome is less plastic pollution and a reduction in the manufacture of new plastic that is made from petrochemicals.
If you would like to learn more about CREATE Borneo or support them, please visit their website at createborneo.org or email them at [email protected]
A growing number of people, projects, and schools are making use of loop2cycle machines in varied and unique ways. The community of microcycler users continue to build awareness of the plastic pollution pandemic and promoting the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle concept.
If you would like to support the loop2cycle project, please take the time to visit loop2cycle.com. It is always a great help when you forward these stories to others. It may just trigger an idea in someone that further reduces plastic waste. Every little bit helps, go on, hit the share button.