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Plastic film and bags make up around 60% of all plastic waste in The Gambia. Even drinking water is sold in LDPE bags, which end up littering the streets and waterways.

 “The bags accumulated in ugly heaps alongside roads. Water pooled in them, bringing mosquitoes and disease. Some bags were burned, leaving behind a terrible smell. Some were buried, but they strangled gardens. They killed livestock that tried to eat them. Something had to change.”

[extract from One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul]

Mike Webster of WasteAidUK was recently in The Gambia, setting up small recycling enterprises.

Plastic bags? Not a problem.

  1. Collect the plastic bags and make sure they are only LDPE plastics.
  2. Heat the plastic gently in a drum until it melts, then add sand.
  3. Transfer the mix of plastic and sand into a mould and leave for 2 hours to cure.

The result is waterproof, durable and sustainable floor tiles.

The tiles being made at the new Brikama Reprocessing Platform, developed by WasteAidUK with local partners, sell for around 75% the price of concrete tiles.

Photo courtesy of Mike Webster, WasteAid UK. Paving slab made from plastic bags using simple technology.

People are making a living from waste, with simple, appropriate technologies.

Now we’re making How To guides, showing people how they can make sustainable enterprises from the rubbish that is damaging their environment.

In this way, the reach of WasteAidUK’s work can be multiplied many times over. We hope that you will support us and help #putwasteright.

You can follow WasteAid UK’s work on Twitter: @WasteAidUK