Ponchilas: unique alternative to fight cold in Peru by re-using plastic!
Peru has started a new campaign to fight the cold. This very innovative campaign has already converted one million plastic bottles into around 6000 ponchilas.
“Ponchila” is a mixture of two Spanish words used in Peru: Poncho and Mochila (backpack). In other words, a “ponchila” is a backpack with a built-in poncho. The ponchilas were created to protect kids that live in high altitudes in the Andes and, unfortunately, don’t live in the best conditions and have to walk many kilometers to attend school.
This special backpacks also help the environment are each of them is created with 80 recycled plastic bottles.
Miguel Návaez, director of social business responsibility at Cencosud, a supermarket chain in Peru and one of the companies that leads the campaign, commented that they are recovering big quantities of plastic bottles otherwise would have ended up in the ocean, landfills or dumps.
The leaders of this campaign are the above mentioned Cencosud, Agua San Luis (a Coca-Cola owned company), and Pacifico Seguros (an insurance company). They started this in 2016 to reduce school dropouts in the Andes because of the low temperatures and long distances kids have to travel to attend school. These companies invited their customers to recycle their plastic bottles during the summer because that’s their pick of consumption.
This past year, this campaign produced six thousand ponchilas that have delivered to kids in Puno, Cusco, Arequipa, Huancavelica, Ayacucho, and Apurimac before the school year.
Due to the success of this campaign, the Ministry of Environment joined this year, promoting a more sustainable consumption and better ways to reuse disposable plastics.
The Minister of Environment of Peru, Fabiola Muñoz, said that with this campaign, Peru is closing the recycling circle, giving value to our waste. The Peruvian government is now working on a bill in Congress to promote a circular economy that reduces the consumption of plastics and promote the use of recycled material.
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