News Social Improvement
On August 22nd the Kunuku Man and his team of dedicated volunteers have cleaned yet another part of Curacao. It was already the 42nd time cleaning and this time the area of Hato Airport was chosen. Èxtra and TeleCuracao were present to report about the project and show the pressing situation.
The Kunuku Man chooses a different location every week to clean up, from public beaches to neighborhoods to sides of the roads. Unfortunately, there are too many locations where trash has been tossed away.
Apart from the obvious need to clean up our island, the Kunuku Man directs his attention to creating awareness amongst the residents of Curacao. Together with his volunteers, he has decided to clean up in the middle of the day, when the sun is at its hottest. Not to be applauded for their work, but to make a point of letting everyone know that they are cleaning up what others have left behind. “People this needs to STOP – STOP – STOP !!!” is what he has written on his Facebook- and Instagram pages multiple times.
He would love to see more effort being put into this theme in schools and at home. The community of Curacao needs a mentality change and the Kunuku Man believes that the best way to reach that, is to begin teaching in the early ages.
In a message to Future Islands, The Kunuku Man talks about the impression that the dirty environment leaves on tourists. An image that can harm our tourism, which of course is a very important source of income to Curacao.
An award-winning organization who takes it even further, is Green Phenix. They call themselves a social enterprise and their aim is to create a circular inclusive economy in the Caribbean. They have won various (international) awards in 2018 and 2019 for their innovative work.
On their website they state, “by actively working on 15 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Green Phenix is a major driver of sustainable development on Curaçao with the plans to create an interactive maker space focused on recycling plastic waste into meaningful products”.
The organization collects plastic bottles, plastic containers, single-use cups and other plastics that belong to category PET (1). They also collect HDPE (2) and PP (5) which can be found in plastic bottles from detergents, cleaning products and bottle caps. Aluminum cans can be handed in as well.
Businesses can pay Green Phenix to take on cleaning the products, however consumers need to hand in the plastics already cleaned. After collecting, checking the plastics and sorting them by material and color, they are being transferred to a machine that shreds the items into small pieces.
For PET the next part is when filament for printing is being made, yet HDPE and PP will be transferred to the extruder for another step. The plastics are being melted in the machine and afterwards it pushes the material into a mould to create the end product.
With the use of 3D printers Green Phenix manages to upcycle PET plastic into all kinds of new products. They also make 100% PET filaments for use in any conventional 3D printer.
Currently HDPE and PP is being used for plastic beams and bricks. In a videoclip on their website they show the entire process of creating a beam. Which then can be used for chairs or building materials.
Interesting to notice, is that initiatives like the two in this article have attracted not only likeminded volunteers and employees, but they attract (young) entrepreneurs, start-ups, established businesses and media as well. This shows that there is a hunger for development, innovation and moving forward as a sustainable community. Even when it is all about trash.
If you would like more information about The Kunuku Man and/or Green Phenix, follow their social media pages and website.