Plastic is a major issue in Bali and I recently visited a company that has found a way to positively use this dramatic polluting item. They melt it to manufacture pallets used for goods transportation. I talked to its manager, Eva Akuina Darby to find out more about what this great idea.
The company’s core business is to create Pallets out of melted plastic to be used for goods transportation. They melt plastic using a technology from New Zealand called “Thermo-Fusion™”. As per the company’s website, this is a “process involving the treatment of waste plastics to heat and pressure” . I did not have the chance to see it in action, but the result is a substance that can be shaped into a variety of products such as pallets.
Considering how much wood the classic pallets are using, this is a very good idea. Plus if they are made out of recycled plastic I would say this is actually an excellent idea. As my past career was a logistician this makes me quite excited about such product, as I know how much wood pallets can be hard to manage when fumigation is required by a country’s authority.
I wondered about the gas emissions this is producing. Considering that we “melt” plastic, we can imagine that the emissions can be toxic. From what I understood there are certified by an Indonesian label, but I did not manage to gather more information about it.
During the interview, I found out that they usually buy their plastic from Bali, Surabaya or Java at different rates: the cleaner the plastic is, the easier the fusion process will be. As a result, the purchasing rate is higher. It poses quite an interesting challenge in regards to how the plastic is collected and where the efforts could be directed. Indeed, what shocks people the most is the plastic that lands on the beach, pollute the rice field and the rivers. Then it is too late to recycle that plastic because of extreme dirtiness, meaning that the recycling process is no longer financially viable. They say frankly “we are not an environmental company, we are a manufacturing one “. Awesome honesty, but they still participate in cleaning the island through manufacturing pallets, which is extremely positive for the environment !
Some of their plastic supply is collected through partnerships with partners such as Deus, Rip Curl or Hurley. Enviro-Pallets donates the bins and the partners donate free clean plastic in return. This win-win partnership raises more awareness about recycling plastic while indirectly creating a reversed plastic supply chain.
I wondered about the CSR program of Enviro-Pallet. They don’t have one themselves, but the parent company is holding a charity golf every year whom proceedings go toward helping an orphanage. This is a great program, but I wondered why their CSR program was not linked to their business. Indeed, I believe that companies should be less shy about helping a charity that help them to reach they own objectives. Why not to do something related to the organisations’ objectives? There are many NGO’s that would benefit from their support, especially in terms of the critical need for educational programs such as Green Books The company itself could get clean plastic, maybe from schools.It would also result a positive exposure for the company. Win/win !
The company’s tagline is “Reduce,Reuse, Recycle”.If manufacturing pallets illustrates perfectly the Reuse & Recycle words, I would see Enviro-Pallet to put more effort on the “Reduce” part.
Disclaimer: this interview has been conducted along with an enquiry toward Enviro-Pallet to sponsor an Music Festival aiming to tackle the plastic issue. Still, this article reflects an ethical view of the company’s operations. All pictures from http://enviropallets.com/