Written by Agastya Sharma, a grade 8 student (junior editor at I Kid You Not)
Before this Covid pandemic, one of the most important issues for the environment was plastic pollution. It still is, actually, and as a community, we must fight back.
And that is exactly what is happening in Hong Kong. In Sha Tin, a town in the region, an architectural firm is doing precisely that, named HIR Studios. Let me tell you all about it.
What did they do?
The architectural company named HIR Studios is using old plastic waste and upcycling it to make plastic benches for the district Town Hall. Upcycling is also known as creative reuse and is the process of transforming waste materials into more useful objects.
Hong Kong has a lot of plastic waste production, although it is nowhere near the amount of waste per capita (per person) of larger countries like the US or the UK. In 2018, Hong Kong had drained roughly 17 million plastic items into the ocean through one of their rivers. Most of this waste was just food packaging and plastic cutlery. This much plastic has a high chance of having an adverse effect on the environment.
HIR Studios worked for two months collecting household waste plastic and collected over 500 kilograms of materials. A lot of these materials were HDPE bottles (high-density polyethylene) like detergent and bleach bottles. HDPE is entirely non-biodegradable and usually takes over hundreds of years to decompose.
After the collection of these materials, they cleaned and processed them, before molding them in a large oven in a furniture factory. These were mixed with steel rods and made into twelve benches, which were placed in the Town Hall.
Up until now, most public seating was made of a lot of basic materials like wood and cloth, which often had to be replaced every few years. The usage of recycled plastic has implications of less pollution, more eco-friendly materials, and the hope of a healthier tomorrow.
I believe that this was a small step in the path to a better, cleaner Earth. This kind of initiative must be taken by each and every individual with the means to make a difference and must be implemented by governments throughout the world.
And that’ll be all from me today! Thank you all so much for reading! Goodbye, and stay safe!
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