Every Thursday, Dechen Choden and her colleagues collect plastics from Clean Bhutan’s donation boxes in Thimphu.

They have been collecting plastics for about eight months now.

After gathering sturdier plastic packagings like everyday milk powder, amulya, crematop, pedigree, atta, and nupur, the 44-year-old Dechen Choden washes them with detergent.

Using plastics that would otherwise be waste, the organisation is making items in an effort to minimise wastes going to landfill.

Thimphu produces about 50 Metric Tonnes (MT) of waste every month. Of the total, about 25 MT consists of pet bottles, scraps, plastics, and glasses.

Before weaving a large-size grocery bag, plastics are dried, cut into uniform stripes and then folded. “The most difficult part in the process is folding these plastic stripes. Weaving is easier,” Dechen Choden said.

It takes about two days to weave a bag. About 92 waste plastic packets go into making a bag.

Executive director of Clean Bhutan, Nedup Tshering, said that the organisation distributed about 100 donation boxes designed for disposing of plastics in offices and organisations in the capital.

He added that the idea to make items out of wastes was not new.

Besides grocery bags, items such as laptop covers, sling bags, pencil pouch, toiletry bags, and laundry bags are also made.

Nedup Tshering said that Clean Bhutan would soon launch plastic-made products in the market.

“People are interested in the plastic-made items, but in order to give people more colour and size choices, we want to first build good stock of items.”

If every household keeps a grocery shopping bag, then a lot of wastes could be minimised and pressure reduced at the landfill, he said.

Rinchen Zangmo