Twenty-one housewives of Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) personnel are undergoing a skill development-training programme on plastic waste to use as secondary resources since yesterday.

The 10-day training aims to develop products from plastic waste to generate additional income by the women’s self help groups. The training is part of the empowering women and youth through waste entrepreneurship programme piloted first in RBP.

During the training, the women learn the process and making of various products from plastic wastes. They would be taught to weave various products such as carry bags, laundry baskets, laptop bags, pencil and pen stands and shopping baskets.

Clean Bhutan is providing the basic equipment required to make the products.

It takes about two hours to make the thread and weave a penholder, the smallest product and about a day and three hours to weave a large bag.

The women undergoing the training are part of the Thrimshung Women’s group- a women’s group within the RBP.

Focal person of the Thrimshung Women’s group said that the training would help women earn and support their household. “Their large families cannot sustain on the salary of the husband.”

Project coordinator with Clean Bhutan, Dechen Choden, said that the training would diversify their skills.

She said that they are focusing on recycling thick plastic covers such as those used for milk powder, washing powder and flour. “In the past, we found that although the thin plastics were recycled, lots of thick plastics were directly going to the landfill.”

It requires about 10 packets to make the smallest pencil pouch or pen stand, about 110 packets to weave a large shopping bag and about five kilogrammes of packets to make a laundry basket. About 92 packets make up a kilogramme.

Environment officer with Thimphu thromde, Tshering Yangzom said that the Memelakha landfill, which has a lifespan of about 4.6 years would not last even a year if the waste going to the landfill were not taken care of. “Instead of finding another landfill, we should work towards reduction of waste at source.”

She also talked on the many initiatives the thromde is talking to reduce waste such as organic compost making, and recycling of papers and plastics.

Clean Bhutan would also carry out similar trainings for Royal Bhutan Army, Royal Bodyguard of Bhutan and with youth groups.

Clean Bhutan is organising the training with fund support from HELVETAS and European Union.

Karma Cheki