Logos Hope’s crew has had the opportunity to partner with Green Phenix, a social enterprise that transforms local plastic waste into usable products.
“My most important goal is to create a circular economy in the Caribbean, starting from Curaçao,” says the founder, Sabine Berends. Green Phenix sorts, cleans and shreds plastic, which is then melted and shaped into something else. Teams from the ship saw plastic beams being made, which will be used to build objects like chairs.
The enterprise intends to open a store in Willemstad’s main shopping mall, with a focus on local employment and production. “We are not just investing in animals’ lives, but also in people's as we aim to create employment opportunities and get a sustainable income stream for conservation activities in the Caribbean,” explains Sabine, who started another non-profit organisation, Sea Turtle Conservation Curaçao. Its purpose is to protect sea turtles and their habitat through research, conservation and education.
Priscilla Lee (Singapore) says, “I like the purpose of the organisation, to benefit the environment. It makes me feel sad that the animals are suffering due to the actions of humans, such as waste pollution. That’s why I wanted to be part of the team that came to help.”
Around 40 of Logos Hope's volunteers have supported the enterprise’s work, helping to sort bottle tops by colour, shape and size.
The experience has changed their perspective: Lea Olivera (Uruguay) says, “I love turtles and I love Curaçao, so I was happy to get the opportunity to help the turtles live on a cleaner island. When I saw this room full of plastic, I realised how harmful the plastic pollution is for the ocean and its creatures. I want to try to use as little plastic as possible from now on and I have an idea to organise cleaning projects at the beach near my home when I go back.”