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Turning crises into opportunity

The lack of local egg trays and cost of a rehab program are met by a manufacturing unit 

YDF: Bhutan may not be importing eggs anymore but it continues to import egg trays from India.

To reduce the import of egg trays and hatch employment opportunities for youth, egg trays will now be produced at home with paper waste.

With HRH Princess Chimi Yangzom Wangchuck inaugurating the egg tray-manufacturing unit in Bjemina yesterday, the plant will start producing 720 egg trays an hour from about 47kg of paper.

After soaking the papers in water to soften them, they are then turned into a pulp and filtered for foreign materials like plastics and pins.  The filtered paper pulp is stored in a tank and pushed through a pipe into an egg tray-molding machine.  The pulp that spills over is transferred back to the tank.

The unit will produce about 5,000 egg trays every day.  With a capacity to produce 1.3M (million) trays, the plant will recycle 100 tonnes of paper, thus reducing and reusing that much waste annually.

Project manager, Jigme Thinley, said collecting waste paper requires manpower.  He said the Bhutan Youth Development Fund (YDF) has signed a contract with Greener Way, which will supply paper waste at a minimal rate, and hire 10 recovering addicts for the purpose, as per the agreement.

Initially, YDF hired two technicians from Jigme Namgyel Polytechnic in Dewathang and four recovering addicts to work at the plant.

Jigme Thinley however said they are yet to fix a price for the egg trays, but that they are likely to be sold at a rate that’s at par with the factory cost of those imported from India, which varies from Nu 2.2 to 2.5 a tray.

The main importer of egg trays from India, Karma One-Stop shop, will be the sole egg tray retailer in the country.  YDF will supply the trays to the retailer, since Karma Feeds,which is also a part of the Karma group of companies has about 60 agents across the country.

The unit was established at a cost of Nu 9.5M and the plant is expected to earn about Nu 1M annually.  All income from the plant will be used for the drug education, prevention and rehabilitation services program of YDF.

Since 2005, YDF has been spending about Nu 4M annually in running the country’s only drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Serbithang.  With a new rehabilitation centre coming up in Tsaluna, the cost of implementing the program is expected to double.

The plant will also offer a reintegration and post treatment program to the clients of the center.  The unit will hire recovering addicts on an annual (rolling) basis, to provide work experience and prepare them for reintegration into society after completion of the treatment programme.

The unit has plans to diversify its production and produce other recycled products, such as fruit trays, seed pots, flowerpots and wastebaskets, among others.  The Global Environment Facility small grants programme under the UNDP and the Goodwill Community Foundation in the USA are supporting the recycling plant.

By Dechen Tshomo

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