Satwik's Journey Through IBDP

Viridis : Recycling Center (Geography Trip)

The unit that we are studying in Geography is Global Resource Consumption and Security. We have been studying about resources which are “Resource is anything that is useful to humans.” (Nagel) and so we have been studying about resource consumption by humans and ecological footprint. “An ecological footprint is the hypothetical area of land required by a society, a group or an individual to full all their resource needs and assimilate all their wastes.” (Nagle 471). To learn more about resource consumption we went to the Viridis which is a plastic recycling center located in Panagoda town in Sri Lanka.

Viridis has been a leading provider in mixed plastic waste management in Sri Lanka for the past 13 years. It was created in 2005. They have recycled over 10,000 metric tons of plastic waste within Sri Lanka (Viridis). Mainly getting most of the plastic from southern, Kandy, Negombo and Chilaw. The prices of recycled plastic depend on the rate of petroleum. As a reef keeper, I had participated in the neighborhood plastic sweep and found a lot of plastic thrown recklessly around the OSC neighborhood. Most of these were PET bottles of Coca-cola company, Nestle, etc. (Fusion

So we later sorted out the plastic by brand names and send them off to the respective brands but we were left with a lot more of plastic (unnamed) that went into the trash. So, we decided to take this to the Viridis recycling center. Upon arriving I was shocked at the amount of plastic waste they had stacked up all around the building. Mr. Nilantha Gamage gave us a tour around the recycling center. He gave us some idea of where the plastics collected from, how long have they been operating, etc. He also briefly talked about Virgin Plastic which is a plastic that has been created from petroleum which has never been used or processed before. He told us that people like using virgin plastic and it is in more demand compared to non-virgin plastic and hence why virgin plastic is a bit more expensive than virgin plastic. He gave us a tour around the factory. Here are the steps on how the plastic is recycled:-

1. Sorting:- The piles of plastics are sorted out into different piles based on their type of plastic and color. 

2. Removing Labels:- The labels from the bottle are removed using a machine and usually sent out to the cement industry. 

3. Shredding:- The plastic is later on shredded into flakes using again a machine but if the plastic is too big to be shredded then the workers need to cut the pieces manually and then shred it. Flakes are usually exported to India, Pakistan, Taiwan, South Korea. It used to be China as well but they stopped importing plastic from other countries. 

4. Washing:- The plastic is obviously going to be dirty since its non- virgin and has been used before. So the plastic flakes are put into a tub of water mixed with acids/chemicals and manually washed by the workers.

 5. Drying:- The plastic is dried using an oven. Then it is later packed into bags to sell. A kg of plastic is sold around 130 Sri Lankan Rupees.

Overall, I think this field trip to Viridis was important as we understood more about plastic recycling and will also help us in this unit as we study more about global resource consumption. 


Work Cited 

“About Us.” Viridis,

Fusion, 180. “An Overview on Plastic Coding System for Resin Types.” Seraphim Plastics, 19 Nov. 2019,

Nagel, Garrett & Briony Cooke. Geography Course Companion, 2nd Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. Print.

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