Kay Blada Recycling
1. What is Kay Blada about?
2. Why is plastic recycling important for Haiti?
3. How do we plan to do it?
I am going to walk you through these questions step by step for your better understanding of KAY BLADA!
What is KayBlada about?
Kay Blada is a social enterprise located in Hinche, Haiti that focuses on the recycling of plastic through public education and providing of local jobs. We strongly believe that providing jobs for local Haitians, especially in the area of improving the environment, will be empowering for the people and the local economy.
Why is plastic recycling important for Haiti?
Trash is a big problem in Haiti. Anywhere you go, in the city or the countryside, you will see big piles of trash. All kids of trash, even batteries and used motor oil are simply thrown onto the ground. There are no widespread programs for trash or recycling. Trash usually gets either burned, piled on the ground, or thrown in the river. This creates toxic pollution of the air and water, and it clogs the waterways leading to greater proliferation of mosquito-borne illnesses.
Haiti is a very poor country, and very vulnerable to natural disasters. Over 60% of the population is unemployed, and about 80% is illiterate. People do not have the education to understand the problems that are being created by the generation of plastic trash, or the possible solutions. The government has not implemented any kind of support system that would enable people to dispose of trash properly, so they are left with little options.
So as a Haitian that lives in the US, I’m asking myself, how can I help Haiti? With so many problems, where can I start? In a place like Haiti, the key is to pick one small area and work on that, without losing your focus. Recently, it has become possible to recycle plastic bottles. I have chosen to start my work in this area.
By creating a small recycling business in Haiti, I have been able to provide jobs to people who otherwise have no source of income. Local people are employed to be part of the solution, instead of being relegated to the sidelines as passive observers. Creating local jobs allows more money to circulate in the local economy. This is empowering to the people.
How are we doing the work?
A project like this can be expensive, because typically there is investment in big equipment and tools to do the heavy work. But in Haiti, people already do everything by hand, and many people are willing to walk through the streets, collecting huge sacks of plastic trash and being paid per pound. This allows more people to participate in beautifying their country, and makes people feel needed in the community. We think that’s a very good thing!
There are 3 groups of people doing the work:
Group A consists of people who are already on the streets collecting plastic bottles, and filling big sacks that can hold about 50 pounds.
After filling those big sacks, they carry them on their backs and bring them to us (KayBlada), where they further process and sort the plastic, and we weigh their sacks for them. Depending on which kind of plastic they bring, they can make up to 3 gourdes per pound. (1USD = 69 gourdes. They would have to bring around 23lbs to make 1USD.)
We all know this is a very small amount of money, but people do this work because it may be their only option, and of course they want to participate in improving the environmental conditions for their children and grandchildren.
Group B is a team of people responsible for weighing and helping to further sort & process the plastic. They are also responsible for going out on the streets and motivating people to get involved.
Group C is the company who comes to pick up the plastic which is then shipped offshore for processing.
Each group of people (A and B) has been doing their work--so far so good. There are over 55 people collecting plastic; we also have a space for weighing and sorting although we are growing out of this space. We now have a bailer for compacting the plastic, but do not have access to electricity yet for running the bailer. In the future, we hope to have a small truck for picking up large amounts of plastic in more remote areas, and a larger, more secure space for Kay Blada.
On our Haitian flag it says “Union fait la force” meaning “Together we’re strong”. Haitians love putting their hands together to make something happen, they are always exited for these kinds of projects; they make Kay Blada feel welcome and also needed.
I Blada am committed to help Haiti my country with its trash and plastic problem. Haiti is in need of many interventions that would improve the quality of life for the people; this is the area I have chosen to begin with as my service project to help people empower themselves and participate in a real way in the betterment of their country.
Thanks to all of you that are with me on this journey--let’s stay in touch!
Kay Blada thanks you so much for your time!