Moroccan charity makes waste plastic, paper, card useful again

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In Casablanca there is a shop with a difference.

Everything on display, including chairs and bags, has been recycled from plastic, cardboard or paper waste.

All the items were made by a charity based called KOUN; meaning ‘be’ in Arabic.

Organisers hope to reduce some of the thousands of tonnes of waste in Morroco which isn’t currently recycled.

Nada Diouri is co-manager of KOUN and says: “When we walk in the streets, there’s waste thrown on the ground everywhere. There are people who are increasingly sick with respiratory diseases.

“We see that, in our seas, the amount of plastic waste is increasing more and more. We see more and more fish with plastic straws or a plastic bags inside them.”

The team sources, collects and recycles waste from up to five companies.

Every day, they collect between 100 and 200 kilograms of waste, 60 percent of which is plastic.

And the project is educational too.

Supervisor at KOUN, Abbas Kanouni, says:  “For the young people who join the centre here, we try to convince them that the plastic waste that you see in nature and that you throw and that has no value, we can convert it here into new materials”. 

“This shocks them, and this encourages them to make more creative and beautiful items.”

In another workshop, shredded paper goes through a special machine.

It is held there for a few hours with water to turn it into a paste, which is then dried.

Assia Rekkas is a worker at KOUN.

“From this paper we can produce several other items such as business cards, boxes and notebooks, we can take from one to two days for business cards,” she says.

Every year, over one million tons of plastic waste is produced by Moroccans, according to the Green Carpet Association.

Only seven percent (70,000 tons) of this waste is recycled and 33 percent is discarded in nature.

In 2016, a law banning using, selling, exporting, importing and manufacturing plastic bags came into force.

But campaigners say the core of the problem is still single-use plastics.

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