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An Update from P4P Cambodia

Posted by Tristan Williams Jan 24, 2017

Plastic for Purpose is currently at a very different stage to where we expected to be at the start of the month. The most promising idea from last month, the Precious Plastics machine, was quickly deemed to be unsuitable for this project due to its small scale nature and relative expensiveness for its output. However, with the define stage now complete and a problem identified, we are exploring a few different options. One potential idea, is the thermodecomposition of plastic to produce oil, known as pyrolysis. We have made a prototype pyrolysis machine and are now ready to start experiments to assess if pyrolysis can be successful at a small scale.    

Another potential avenue is turning plastic bags into pellets which are then used as an aggregate to make concrete bricks. There is a company called ConCERT making these in Siem Reap. We have met with them, and they are interested in working with us as they need a more efficient way of melting the plastic bags and then cutting up the melted product, a more effective process for testing the strength of the bricks, publicity in Australia, and potential marketing assistance for bricks further down the track. The bricks could prove to be a successful product for Plastic for Purpose, though I believe a formal partnership with ConCERT is not be ideal. Therefore, short term cooperation leading to Project Everest independently establishing a business to produce the bricks would be preferable. However, it is important to consider how influential ConCERT is in Siem Reap and, consequently, to maintain good relations.

A third potential option is working with a Thai company who are producing biodegradable ‘plastic’ products, such as bags, food packaging, and disposable cutlery who are looking into moving into the Cambodian market. Whilst they have the technical knowledge required to manufacture these items, they lack the business knowledge and market insight required to establish themselves here. The future direction will be assessing the viability of each of these three options, through further research, testing, and stakeholder meetings.

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