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Tan Novita (right) and Ovy Sabrina at Rebricks’ plastic waste processing facility in South Jakarta, Friday (16/10/2020).

Plastic food packaging waste threatens the environment. In fact, this type of waste is mostly thrown away and the least recycled. Tan Novita (34) and Ovy Sabrina (34) built a movement to recycle these types into bricks and paving blocks.

February 2020, a message circulated via Whatsapp. “Try to remember how often we produce sachets of waste every day? Every snack has a wrapper and throws it away. Eat instant noodles, throw away the wrap. Drink sachet coffee, throw away the pack, “read the message.

The message maker then explained that sachet waste could be recycled into bricks and paving blocks. “There are young people who are motivated to process them into bricks because they are concerned about processing plastic waste into useful items,” the message continued, referring to Rebricks, the waste recycling movement built by Tan and Ovy.

It turns out that the message in WA has a moving effect. Many people came to attend the training to process sachet waste held by Rebricks in the South Jakarta area. There are also those who simply hand over the trash to Tan Novita or Ovi Sabrina’s house.

Friday (16/10/2020), piles of cardboard boxes and sacks containing various plastic packages from residents kept arriving. The plastic waste will be sorted later. Most of them are made into bricks and paving blocks.

“To me, (WA writer) is like a ‘messenger of God’. We don’t know who sent WA messages which have been viral until now. But whoever, you are a very good person, ”said Tan Novita, who is usually called Novi.

Almost gave up

Novi and Ovy were friends during college. They walked together to pioneer Rebrick because they shared the same vision in the green movement. Prior to founding Rebricks, Novi was involved in community development activities, including teaching how to process waste. Meanwhile, Ovy helps her parents in managing a brick and paving block business. Ovy was intrigued to add value to paving block products.

In June 2017, they agreed to take a walk to several food stalls and plastic waste collection points to collect several types of recyclable plastic waste. On the way they met a collector who challenged them to process plastic food packaging waste.

This is garbage, it’s different from plastic bottles, which have a price.

“This is garbage, it’s different from plastic bottles, which have a price,” said the collector. What the collectors mean is that plastic waste is difficult to recycle and has no price.

Novi and Ovy are disturbed by the challenge. From various texts, they know that plastic packaging waste is a big problem in many countries. “There needs to be a mass solution to find a breakthrough in processing this type of plastic waste,” said Novi.

They also tried several processing methods. At first they tried tiring plastic packaging waste in a large barrel. However, the experiment failed. Not all plastic waste can melt. Even if it melts, it produces black smoke that is terrible for environmental health. “At first we gave up hope,” added Novi.

Ovy tried another method, namely cutting plastic packaging with scissors into small pieces. He involved workers in his family’s brick workshop. The plastic flakes are then used as paving block material. This method also fails because the plastic flakes are still visible and easily come off.

He tried the last method, namely chopping the plastic with a machine until it was smooth. The chunks are mixed with sand and cement, then molded into paving blocks. If it fails, Ovy admits that she will give up at that time.

Tan Novita (right) and Ovy Sabrina with paving blocks from plastic waste they made, Friday (16/10/2020), in Rebricks, South Jakarta.

It turned out to be better. The method was then tested for months until it passed the press test and met the Indonesian National Standard from the Center for Material and Technical Products of the Ministry of Industry. From the test results, Rebricks product is strong withstand loads of up to 250 kilograms per square centimeter.

Ovy said that Rebricks’s paving block formula was not arbitrary. The formula is obtained by calculations involving research lecturers from a university in Jakarta. The results of the lecturer’s calculations and the Ovy family’s experience in making bricks are put together. “The term, we have experience, lecturers have the theory.”

For Novi and Ovy, the most important thing is not the final product, but the small movement they have initiated that can arouse public awareness.

  • Co-Founder COO Rebricks Indonesia (2018-sekarang)
  • Founder Cimaro (2016-2018)
  • Sales and Marketing Coordinator PD Serba Guna Block (2012-2014)
  • Pekerja lepas penerjemah dan juru bahasa

Sources click here