Project to collect discarded pens, tooth brushes

It has been proven that carbon pens and toothbrushes that are discarded after use take more than 400 years to decompose. There are no statistics on how many toothbrushes and carbon pens are disposed of in our country every year Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said.

The Ministry has launched a programme to collect disposable carbon pens in schools and government institutions as well as to collect disposable toothbrushes at home.

A special container has been introduced for the collection of these discarded pens and toothbrushes under the theme “A discipline, not a law - Neethiyak nowa Winayak” and the order is already in place. Two leading companies in the country are supporting the recycling of these empty carbon pen tubes and toothbrushes.

In addition a leading biscuit manufacturer entered into an agreement with the Ministry for the production of this unique container.

The amount of carbon pens discarded per day from the school system in our country alone is around 80 to100 kg. But there are no definite statistics on the amounts that are disposed of daily by public and private institutions.

However, it takes about 400 years for carbon pens and toothbrushes to decompose and disappear into the soil. It has been confirmed that micro-plastic molecules produced from it will not be removed from the soil even after 1,000 years, Minister Amaraweera stressed. So far, the Environment Ministry has been able to distribute nearly a thousand of these containers to schools, government agencies and ministries. It is also planned to provide these containers to all government and private institutions. The Ministry will not spend Government money for this and it is planned to obtain financial allocations with the assistance of the private sector. The Minister further said that unnecessary use of plastics and polythene has created a huge environmental catastrophe in our country today. Polythene and plastics have a major impact on soil, air and water pollution in particular. Therefore, as a government, we will implement all possible measures to minimize and manage the use of these as much as possible, he said.

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