• 63°

Recycling in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, which has been an independent country since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, continues to face many challenges. Among them is how the nation deals with its trash, especially plastics.

“Unfortunately the public is not very proactive when it comes to recycling and sustainability,” said club member Sarita Valid, of the Rotary Club of Baku International, Rotarian.

Valid operates Eco Creations, a nonprofit that employs refugees in order to transform trash plastic products into “upcycled” bags and accessories. She has also enlisted her fellow Rotarians to embrace environmental awareness. In fact, this past December, her club recruited some 50 people to erect 10-foot Christmas trees made of 500 plastic bottles inside a shopping mall. The trees have encouraged local businesses in the “Say no to plastics” campaign to encourage their customers to use reusable shopping bags versus plastic.

“We are working to protect Azerbaijan from the problems of plastic waste, which would otherwise go into landfills or be incinerated — either one of which are bad alternatives,” said Valid.

Another example of Rotarians working to make a better world while at the same time creating needed jobs.