4P: Giving another life to dead plants and flowers

Ingy Deif, Monday 22 Apr 2019

Egyptian students fight pollution by calling for the recycling of dead plants

Photo courtesy of 4P
Recycled paper products (Photo courtesy of 4P)

Ahram Online talked to a group of students about their call to raise awareness regarding the benefits of converting dead plants and flowers into recycled paper and paper products.

Among the group was Haya El-Fakharany, who studies at one of the British schools in Egypt.

El-Fakharany explained how the idea of the 4P initiative surfaced a few months ago.

"It was overwhelming to find out how much there are wasted plants around us everywhere without much ado about it," El-Fakharany said.

"We all love flowers and plants, and at home many have their own that they care about, but there comes a time when we are forced to throw them away when they don't have life anymore. But what if we can see them live in another form that not only extends their life, but also helps reduce pollution?"

"We as a group of students and friends were enthusiastic about raising awareness with regards to already established inventions utilised by clever craftsmen at an NGO called Nafeza, located near the old Fustat district in Cairo."

Photo courtesy of 4P
Students taking part at 4P initiative

"The craftsmen at Nafeza convert dead plants into 100 percent natural Egyptian recycled papers," El-Fakharany says.

El-Fakharany explained that the students collaborated with experts at Nafeza not only to transport plant materials to the recycling plants, but to take part in the manufacturing process as well. The initiative makes various paper products that are put on sale, the revenue from which further supports the initiative.

Photo courtesy of 4P

“And so we initiated '4P ' which stands for: 'Plant 4 Paper -Production & help reduce Pollution'," she says.  

Now they aim to further spread the word.

“We aim to call for the donation of plants and agricultural left-outs to help the environment stay healthy and clean. This includes dead and dying flowers and plants from households, rice straw – which is a major pollution hazard when disposed of through burning – and the leftovers from sugar cane when it is squeezed for juice,” she says .

One of the main items utilised in the project as well is the most common floating plant in the River Nile: Ward El-Nile (Eichhornia), whose harmful effects includes excessive absorption of water and threatening the lives of various kinds of fish.

Photo courtesy of 4P
Ward El Nile (Eichhornia)

The 4P initiative also aims to raise awareness about the importance of this Egyptian handmade recycled paper to the country's economy and the possibility of exports from these papers.

“We call for people to donate discarded plants and we will be your channel to reach the right handicraftsmen," El-Fakharany says.

"Everyone of us can help in producing more of this environment friendly paper by saving and reusing plants and contributing to keeping our planet clean and pollution free."

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