Posted by Haylee Buswell on 28 February 2018 | Comments


This week, people all around the country took part in Clean Up Australia Day activities. It’s a day that has become Australia’s biggest community-based environmental event, based on the vision of one “average Australian bloke”.  Ian Kiernan began the event after being a solo yachtsman and being shocked and appalled by the increasing amount of rubbish discarded in our precious oceans.  This motivated Ian to take a stand by organising Clean Up Sydney Harbour Day in 1989.  The event received a massive response from the public that one year later the event became nationwide with over 288,000 tonnes rubbish collected over the past 27 years. 

Whilst Clean Up Australia Day is well-known to us here in Australia, we don’t hear a huge amount about what people in other countries are doing with their waste. That’s why we’ve taken the opportunity to investigate some of the most innovative – and unusual – waste management practices from around the world.

Here are some of our favourites:

Cameroon Plastic Bottle Boats 889x500

Cameroon | Creating Boats out of Plastic Bottles

A group of students in Cameroon are fabricating boats for local fisherman with the hopes of encouraging people to think differently about they consume and dispose of plastic waste.

The idea of the ecological canoes came from local inventor, Ismael Essome Ebone who first wanted to take action on the vast build-up of the plastic water bottles after he began to notice the main reason for flooding in his community was due to the massive amount of water bottles.  Not only is Ismael’s idea helping the environment, but it is creating jobs and producing much needed boats for fisherman in his area.

This initiative has resulted in Isamael founding Madiba & Nature, a non-profit group who come together to collect thousands of plastic bottles across Cameroon.  The boats are just the beginning for this company, with environmental awareness and education programs developed for students and engineers to learn more about green business.    

Click here for more information.


Nigeria | Women Turning Plastic Bags into Fashion Accessories

A group of women in Yola, Nigeria, are making a living from accumulating plastic bags off their streets and turning them into colourful mats, bags and other accessories.

The recycling programme was started by the American University of Nigeria in 2012 to create environmental awareness and provide their people with new skills and training.

The initiative has resulted in over 300 women in the community gaining skills they would have otherwise not received and helping to revitalise the local economy with their new earned skills and jobs.  The creation of the colourful products has also allowed women to earn an income for their families and pay for an education for their children while also cleaning up their communities.  

Click here for more information.


Japan | Small Village Has Become Nearly Zero Waste

While separating out rubbish between paper and plastic may feel time-consuming, the small village of Kamikatsu in Japan sorts their rubbish into 34 separate categories. 

This idea began for the small village in 2003 when they embarked on implementing a zero-waste program after they realised how harmful incinerating their trash was to the environment.  While residents were hesitant towards washing and sorting their trash into the vast number of categories, they adapted quickly and the process became routine.  In addition to this, Kamikatsu has stores where people can leave old clothing and furniture for others to purchase or turning unwanted items into brand new ones. 

Presently, 80% of the town’s rubbish is recycles, reused or composted with the remaining going to landfill.  Kamikatsu look to be completely zero-waste by 2020.

Click here for more information.

 Green Coin Initiative

Amsterdam | Turning Trash into Cash

Amsterdam is already well-known for being an environmentally-friendly city and their Green Coin Initiative only furthers reinforces this title.

The idea of the Green Coin Initiative is that residents are rewarded for recycling their plastics correctly in exchange for green plastic coins that can be redeemed as cash.  Businesses, communities and individuals that sign up receive specially-designed recycling bags and once filled, will receive green plastic coins that can be used at a wide variety of stores from having discounted grocery shopping to free coffee to discounted bike repairs.

The plastic accumulated by residents is then used to create the green coins along with playground equipment, furniture and reusable building blocks. 

Click here for more information.

India plastic roads

India | Making Roads from Plastic

One street in Chennai, India is known as a local legend as the road has maintained its structure without developing any cracks, potholes or craters which generally appear after the constant heavy traffic flow, floods and heat waves that often occur in the area.  Holding this particular road together is shredded plastic.

This radical idea came as a solution to India’s immense amount of waste and is proving to be a popular solution for not only other parts of the country but other parts of the world.  Amsterdam are looking to create plastic road-like blocks built from waste collected from oceans that will also help with road endurance while also combatting the issue of our oceans being plagued by waste.

Click here for more information.





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