published on 9 November 2018 in energy
Plastic recovered in the Po River used to create a shelter
Recycling plastic, besides being sustainable, also becomes useful in emergencies, thanks to cooperation between Corepla and the Waste Free Oceans (WFO) association. In fact, waste collected from the River Po during the ‘Il Po d’AMare’ pilot project, which employs innovative techniques to intercept and recycle waste floating in the river, has been used to build low-cost shelters for communities that have lost their homes due to natural disasters. The first prototype “shelter” in the world, on show at the Ecomondo fair in Rimini, is made from recycled plastic obtained both from separate household waste collection by the Corepla circuit, and from experimental collection on the River Po. This prototype is part of a series of projects named “Closing the loop” set up by Waste Free Oceans with various companies, with the aim of turning waste retrieved from the sea, rivers and in refugee camps into innovative and sustainable products.
For the past three months or so, the Po has been the focus of a new experiment, called ‘Il Po d’AMare’: Corepla, working with the Foundation for Sustainable Development and Castalia, has installed Seasweeper, a system of fixed barriers and shallow draught craft at around 40 km from the river mouth to limit and collect plastic floating in the river (for more information on the project, see: “Fishing for waste along the River Po”). The plastic collected from the longest river in Italy, was transformed into granules of recycled plastic and sent to the Storm Board plant of the UK group Protomax Plastics, a company specialised in the production of recycled plastic boards used mainly in the building industry, and then turned into the panels used to build the shelters.
“Il Po d’AMare also becomes a caring Po,” comments Antonello Ciotti, president of Corepla, going on to say, “In fact, we hope that this experimental project started on the River Po to collect and recycle plastic will be able to encourage not only creation of networks and opportunities for the regions, companies and scientific knowledge, but also a tangible means for dealing with emergencies. Thus making the most of the properties and energies of this material.” At the end of Ecomondo, the panels of the prototype will be sent to Athens to create a temporary shelter in a refugee camp with the aim, in future, of using the plastic waste produced and collected in the camp itself for the same purpose.