Words by: Lucy Wagstaffe
"Refillable packaging is the best option environmentally as it produces zero waste. With plastic pollution and climate change becoming ever-more urgent issues, it's time to switch to reusable, refillable packaging and we're pleased to see the CBC setting such a good example." Zoë Lenkiewicz, Head of Programmes and Engagement at WasteAid
The inspirational charity WasteAid https://wasteaid.org/ has three main aims: to help fight poverty, pollution and climate change. The Conscious Beauty Co. will be donating 1% of its annual profits to this renowned charity, which contribute towards creating green jobs for the poorest people, improving public health and keeping plastic out of the oceans. WasteAid is also committed to campaigning for urgent action to be taken to tackle the waste crisis whilst providing a solution. As the CBC. is aiming to tackle the problem of plastic waste in the personal care industry, we wanted to let you know about this remarkable charity that is changing communities’ lives and reducing plastic pollution in the oceans.
What does WasteAid do?
WasteAid promotes recycling as a tool for global sustainable development and
trains communities to manage waste in a safe and affordable way. The charity believes that treating waste as a resource is a cost-effective way of managing it and is devoted to transforming the problem of waste into an opportunity, which we think is quite remarkable.
Communities and non-governmental organisations looking to understand how to set up small-scale community recycling and waste management schemes in lower and middle income countries, are provided with self-help guides so that these issues can be dealt with. WasteAid’s low-cost and accessible community waste management includes waste reduction, collection, sorting, selling materials, recycling, composting and safe disposal.
Why is WasteAid’s work so vital?
According to WasteAid, the waste of more than 3 billion is not disposed of safely in low and middle income countries. This charity is working hard to prevent uncollected and openly dumped waste entering the ocean as this is the largest source of marine plastics, according to a report https://science.sciencemag.org/content/347/6223/768 in ‘Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean’.
Pierre’s inspirational story: from poverty to becoming a plastics recycling champion
Pierre Kamsouloum has become an inspirational plastics recycling trainer in the poorest parts of the world. Pierre was born into poverty in Cameroon, but turned his life around through recycling plastic waste for beneficial uses, despite the odds being stacked against him.
From a young age Pierre was melting plastic bags into ball shapes as he did not have the money to buy a football. He then began to create tougher and more durable materials by mixing melted plastic with sand. From this experiment, he was then able to make paving tiles that were strong enough for paths, roads and car parks and each of them contained the equivalent of 200 plastic bags.
His innovative experiments and entrepreneurial skills enabled Pierre, with a team of employees, to grow a small business that delivered certified building products to the Cameroonian market. Since 2016 when he joined WasteAid, Pierre has worked across West Africa providing training programmes to help communities turn plastic waste into useful products. He has especially helped unemployed youths, people with disabilities and marginalised women to build a future from plastic waste.
The partnership has been a huge success. In the coastal village of Gunjur in the Gambia, Pierre and WasteAid are currently delivering a plastics recycling training programme. Two months after the first class of 30 had graduated, one million plastic bags were saved from being burned or put into the ocean. WasteAid plans to develop a training centre near the Cameroon estuary where Pierre will continue to teach hundreds of people about saving the oceans from increasing plastic pollution.
WasteAid’s advice and top tips:
Zoë Lenkiewicz, Head of Programmes and Engagement at WasteAid says, "refillable packaging is the best option environmentally as it produces zero waste. With plastic pollution and climate change becoming ever-more urgent issues, it's time to switch to reusable, refillable packaging and we're pleased to see the CBC setting such a good example." WasteAid recommends:
- Refusing unnecessary packaging and look for products that are in refillable / returnable containers
- Reducing the amount of waste you produce: cut open your cosmetics tubes to get the last 15ml of product out; don't buy products you don't really need; avoid non-biodegradable glitter and microplastics in face scrubs
- Reusing containers by taking them to refill shops or using them to store something else in
- Recycling what you can - check the labels and information from your local council