Recycling Center

CHI has partnered with Executive without Borders (EWB) and Plastic Bank in a program that places plastic collection depots in towns around Haiti.  This essentially turn trash into cash and create possibilities from plastic!  This program cleans up the streets, stops the widespread burning of plastic, and supplements people's income. 

Haiti is an island the size of Maryland and imports over 40,000 lb of plastic each day, (yes each day) and it all gets thrown on the streets and clogs canals.  This is especially apparent during the annual hurricane season and contributes to the massive mudslides and flooding that happen nearly every year. 

After the 2010 earthquake Executives Without Borders identified this as an opportunity to expand income generating opportunities to other locations within the country.  They created Ramase Lajan, which in Creole means ‘picking up money’.  Through this program, small collection centers are placed in communities to take in, clean, and crush the plastic that people collect.  Collectors are paid by the pound for the plastic that they bring to the collection centers.  The plastic is then transported to a central location in Port-au-Prince where it is purchased at a mark-up, chipped, and exported to be made into messenger bags, polar fleece, and a number of other products.

EWB estimates that 2,000 such collection depots are needed in Haiti to deal with what is already on the ground and the unceasing stream of imported plastic. Our depot is number 25.

Impact studies that have been conducted by EWB show that the majority of participants use the money earned through recycling plastic to send a child to school or to supplement their children’s diets.  We know that preventing malnutrition and anemia will raise a child’s IQ by 15 points, better equipping them to learn and become productive members of society.  

This center will provide meals for children to encourage them to go to school and help them learn once they are there. It will enable them to learn how to take care of themselves, their families, and their communities.

The cornerstone of our work is a relationship with the community.  Our clinics are literally based in villages, where people vacate their houses and donate their yards and public areas in order to run our clinics.  The community has been the driving force and a true partner in all of our other projects.  This one is no different.  The community is stoked(!) and we have the support of the mayor, the land-owners, and the judiciary for this project. 

This recycling collection center is a part of our core belief that health is not simply the absence of disease, but rather the ability for an individual to fulfill their innate potential.  This center will not only clean up the environment, prevent flooding from plugged canals, and improve air quality by preventing the burning of trash.  It will enable countless families to supplement their income and provide them with the dignity of working to provide for their relatives and children.  It will send hundreds of children to school.

We are so grateful to be a part of this program that helps families, the community and the enviornment!