Saturday, November 6, 2010

Recycling: 86% in Cairo

It took me a couple months to learn just how much recycling happens in Cairo because it's all done behind the scenes.  I didn't see recycling containers around town, or trucks that separate out glass, plastic, paper, etc.  I hadn't heard about any recycling factories or places that would give people money to return glass or plastic soda cans.  I had seen people collecting trash, and sometimes it looked like it was being sorted, but I didn't know what, if anything, happened to it.

I've since learned that about 86% of all trash is recycled here in Cairo.  I've seen some of the trucks going down the highway piled even higher than the one in this photo.  The Coptic (i.e., Christian) community here handles most of the recycling.  They are called the Zabaleen.

Here is a newspaper article that tells more about Cairo's recycling program:

PBS made movie about Cairo's recycling, see details here:

I was curious to see what happens with all the recycled materials coming from Cairo's more than 17 million people so did a little research online.  Ramadan latterns and 'church mats' were a couple of the things I saw mentioned.  We have a woven mat in our bathroom that I think was also made from recycled material.   I bought it from a man on the side of the road for about 15 Egyptian pounds (about $2.75).

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