AWARD YEAR
2021
CATEGORY
Community
GOALS
Responsible Consumption & Production
KEYWORDS
recycling, Plastic, pandemic response
COUNTRY
Uganda
DESIGNED BY
Paige Balcom
WEBSITE
https://www.takatakaplastics.com/
Takataka Plastics
Plastic waste turned into construction materials and Covid face shields
Did you know that 91% of the world’s plastic is not recycled? These plastics build up in waste sinks in developing areas like Gulu, Uganda. Since Gulu is a 6 hour drive from the nearest recycling plant, the high transportation costs make it economically unfeasible to send low-value plastic waste for recycling so the plastic is burned, buried, or littered. “We’ve designed and built unique equipment for recycling plastic waste because locally built machines are cheaper and easier to maintain and fix if they break,” says founder Paige Balcom. “We based our machines on open-source designs but modified them to use locally available parts and fabrication techniques. If an imported machine breaks, often it cannot be repaired—it’s added to the scrap pile and you’re stuck. We still have to import the electronics, but our locally built machines are also easy to replicate, so we can build many machines less expensively and scale to other parts of Uganda and East Africa.”