Ever Green Recycling Institute (EGRI), a Liberian-owned plastic waste recycling company, has called on the government to extend its support to that company to rescue it from logistical constraints causing it not to be effective in its operation.
John G. Smith, EGRI’s founder and chief executive officer (CEO), told the Daily Observer over the weekend that his entity has the capacity to produce on a large scale diesel fuel and other flammable liquids government imports from other countries.
“We can supply government with fuel and that will help reduce the rate of importation of the commodity into the country. We are using waste, particularly used plastics to produce what we produce, but due to our limited resources, we are finding it difficult to make the needed impact in the country,” Smith said.
He added that Liberia has a lot of potential people, but supporting those bearing the potentials is the only way their impact can be felt.
Smith, in order for his team to accomplish what they wish to, said his organization is not seeking physical cash from government or anyone else but materials, including vehicles (pick-up trucks) and machines to work.
“We have the capacity to recycle plastics for many kinds of products, including fuel, kerosene, bricks for construction of houses, tile for pavement of floors, roofing tiles and, many more,” Smith boasted, adding, “We are open to any trial in this business of recycling waste, mainly plastic.”
Liberia runs an import-based economy and as such, the country imports all petroleum products and the prospect for mining of oil in the country has been highly rated but in 2016, all mining exploration attempts by ExxonMobil and a few other international oil and gas companies seized to continue due to the lack of discovery of any marketable commercial quantities of oil.
“We are unable now to produce from recycling, a huge consignment of the things we produce simply because we don’t have the means to convey more plastic waste to our recycling site.
EGRI is not the only local waste recycling company in Liberia now, but it is the first in the country to produce fuel and other combustible liquids through the use of plastic, mainly rubber bottles.
“Seven years ago I started this business. I am an IT (information technology) professional and I have worked with other institutions, including the NEC (National Elections Commission), but a time came when I saw the need to be self-employed.
“To realize my dream I left other jobs and I began research on plastics and I found out that plastic poses lots of environmental challenges, but it can be used to produce a lot more valuable items people can benefit from,” Smith explained.
He further said, “Waterways are blocked by the careless disposal of plastic waste and there is so much health hazard that it poses to people in any given community.”
“We rent vehicles and it costs us so much, but if the government or any group can trust and believe in what we are doing to help us with equipment, we can do a lot more to make our country proud. We can produce more and more of what we do now to supply the markets,” Smith said with confidence expressed on his face.
He narrated that his business entity pays less fortunate youth most of the time to go out in the streets and fetch waste plastics and take them over to his working site for measurement and direct or upfront payment.
“We don’t have money now but we pay for the plastic bottles and all other plastics and rubbers. At present, we pay US$10 per kilogram of plastics measured. That is helping to provide food and other things for those who serve us,” he said.
Smith told the Daily Observer that EGRI is currently using a reactor (processing machine) that takes 200 kilograms and that is small for mass production.
“We sometimes produce up to 500 gallons of fuel but that is very small, considering the high consumption rate. We need at least four reactors in order to do a large scale production,” he said, adding that a reactor costs US$40 to 50 thousand United States Dollars.