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A one-of-a-kind recycled plastic playground comes to Colombia

One community, one project, one team

24 Aug 20203 minute read

The multi-layered plastic problem

The recycling of multi-layered plastic materials is a conversation that is still struggling to reach a global audience. Multi-layered plastic – used in the packaging of hundreds of products – contains a mixture of materials, which are perceived to present a barrier to its recycling potential.

But it is possible to reuse this material through a bespoke washing process, followed by an extrusion and mixing process that results in a resin. This unique resin can then be used to manufacture ‘plastic wood’. If we’re going to create a truly circular economy, it’s crucial that this information is understood on a global level and we make best use of plastic wood where we can.

In Latin America in particular, consumers don’t know how to recycle the packaging, recyclers don’t appreciate the material, and processing companies don’t value it. But we do. Our Colombia team recognised an opportunity to educate consumers to drive real, lasting change with a community project that would inspire a new recycling routine…

One community, one project, one team

Commune 18 - a community in Cali, Colombia – depends on its park as its main social hub. Its playground sits at the heart of the park and is enjoyed by over 500 local children. The park and playground are woven into the fabric of the community and play a crucial role in the social lives of residents. But the playground was in desperate need of repairs.

But how could recycled plastics help?

Plastic wood is a strong, robust material created by recycled multi-layered packaging – the perfect construction material for playgrounds!

The team quickly got to work educating consumers of the recycling potentials of multi-layered packaging and provided them with the right resources to change their recycling habits. Residents really got on board with their new recycling routine and the team managed to collect 250kg of plastic packaging in order to create a new playground.

This packaging was properly processed and so, a new playground entirely constructed of plastic wood was born!

The new playground officially opened on 13th July to a crowd of happy children and proud residents. It was truly a dream come true for Commune 18.

​​​​​​​What’s next?

But a recycled plastic playground is just the start.

Monica Lemos, Senior Regulatory Affairs Manager, and her team in Colombia are now working with the trade association, hoping to carry out a larger similar scheme to encourage further change.

We’re committed to closing the loop on multi-layered plastic packaging’s lifecycle, giving our consumers the tools they need to recycle our products safely and efficiently. And that’s all thanks to our teams’ drive to do the right thing. Always.

It has been demonstrated that we have the power to change the world. We cannot simply ignore the warning signs. With a creative approach to a problem, a sustainable outlook to an issue and a holistic view to the challenge, we are able to work together to preserve our planet!

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