From 80 recycled plastic bottles, a ponchila is made for the poor children of the Andes.
In Peru, a ponchila – a combination of the Spanish words “poncho” and “mochila” – refers to a backpack with a built-in poncho, as you can read in UN Environment.
This item was designed with the purpose to protect the poorest children in the Andes who often have to travel many kilometers daily, under inclement weather, to get to school.
“Trash is not garbage”, is the motto of one of Peru’s recycling campaigns that has turned a million plastic bottles into thousand of ponchilas.
Each ponchila, explained UN Environment, is made out of 80 recycled plastic bottles. This project started in 2016 “when Cencosud, Agua San Luis (owned by Coca-Cola) and Pacífico Seguros set out to collaborate to reduce school dropouts in the Andes highlands because of extreme temperatures and the long distances that children must travel to get to school”, said this website.
A lot of plastic is being recovered from landfills, dumps, and oceans, and the aforementioned companies constantly invite citizens to support the initiative by recycling their plastic drinking bottles during the summer period, when the consumption is higher.
“In 2017, the project produced 6,000 ponchos; another 7,000 have already been made this year”, UN Environment assures.
The children that have received the ponchilas so far are from the provinces of Puno, Cusco, Arequipa, Huancavelica, Ayacucho, and Apurímac.