Haiti is approximately the size of Maryland but imports over 40,000 lbs of plastic each day. This plastic ends up thrown on the streets where it clogs canals. During hurricane season, it contributes to massive mudslides and flooding.
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.
CHI has partnered with Executive without Borders (EWB) and Plastic Bank in a program that places plastic collection depots in towns around Haiti. This program cleans up the streets, stops the widespread burning of plastic, and supplements people's income.
Impact studies conducted by EWB have shown that the majority of collectors use their earned income 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.
Because the community is the driving force and true partner in all of our projects, we have earned the support of the mayor, landowners, and judiciary for the Recycling Center. The Center contributes to our core belief that health is not merely the absence of disease, but rather the ability of an individual to fulfill their innate potential.
This center not only cleans up the environment to prevent flooding from plugged canals,and improve air quality by preventing the burning of trash, but it enables families to supplement their income in a dignified manner to provide food and education for their relatives and children.