Elderly farmer in Kiên Giang recycles plastic waste into useful items

August 16, 2023 - 06:45
With creative ideas and skillful hands, an old farmer in Kiên Giang Province has recycled plastic ropes into useful items, reducing plastic waste and contributing to environmental protection.
Nguyễn Văn Lẹ with some of his products. — Photo baokiengiang.vn

KIÊN GIANG — With creative ideas and skillful hands, an elderly farmer in Kiên Giang Province has recycled plastic ropes into useful items, reducing waste and contributing to environmental protection.

Nguyễn Văn Lẹ, 78, lives in Mương Chùa Village, Tây Yên A Commune, An Biên District.

A relative of his who works as a building worker in Phú Quốc City, Kiên Giang Province, suggested the idea.

“At the beginning of 2020, he told me that construction material businesses throw away a lot of plastic ropes which had been used to tie bricks. He suggested I collect them to knit baskets,” Lẹ told the Nhân Dân (The People) newspaper.

With experience in bamboo knitting, Lẹ began the work.

Every day, around 4am, the farmer rides his bicycle to building material enterprises and construction sites to pick up plastic ropes.

He washes and dries them in the sun.

About two hours after drying, Lẹ knits them into different kinds of baskets to contain fish, shrimp, fruits and flowers.

Lẹ said that the plastic ropes, after being used, are often thrown into canals obstructing boats and causing harm to the environment.

The ropes have hardness and firmness, so they are suitable to replace bamboo for knitting into handmade products.

The work also helps limit plastics discharged into the environment.

Knowing Lẹ’s work, many construction material enterprises in An Biên District gather a large number of ropes and call him to get them.

His relatives and friends who work at construction sites also often pick up the ropes for Lẹ to knit into useful products.

During the past year, a number of cafes and restaurants have ordered Lẹ to knit lanterns to decorate. Small traders who buy and transport fruits and shrimp in Đồng Tháp, Cà Mau and Hậu Giang provinces also buy them for their work.

Many people praise his products of bags and baskets that are durable, sturdy, and beautiful like other products sold on the market.

Phạm Thị Lan, from Thứ Ba Town in An Biên District, said: “Previously, I did not believe this product was made from discarded materials because it looked beautiful, clean and had high durability. When I knew that Lẹ reuse the discarded ropes, contributing to environmental protection, so I bought them to support him".

Lẹ said that because of a large number of orders, he had to spend more time collecting the materials. Besides, the ropes have different colours and length so it took him a long time to make products.

Recycled products from plastic ropes cost VNĐ35,000-250,000 (US$1.47-10.5) depending on the type.

Lẹ finds it a joy and useful work of old age.

“Although the income from knitting baskets is not much, I want to educate my children and grandchildren to have a sense of green living, reduce waste and protect our living environment,” he said. — VNS