Who’s doing what? How will Waste-for-Life BA sustain itself? The only thing we knew for certain before coming to Argentina was that our stay was finite. The time that separated our flight into and out of BA was 6 months; we knew very little else. It’s premature to map out what we’ve learned and done, and way too early to draw any conclusions, but one thing we can point to is that we’ve adhered to our idea of Waste-for-Life as a loosely joined network of people with diverse competencies, sharing common values, who join together to work through poverty-reducing solutions to particular ecological problems. We had no a priori idea what form this would take, but this is what the decentralized structure looks like to us as we prepare to leave.
INTI is taking care of the science. They will spend the next few months putting the hotpress through its paces using different types of plastic waste in combination with cardboard and other natural fibers that they will collect from the cartonero cooperatives. They will test the results for compliance with local building codes and standards and will work alongside the cooperatives to teach them how to make the reinforced plastic composites. Levinton’s CEP group will be the experimenters. Once INTI has nailed down the technical processes, CEP will begin product development with their own hotpress, seeing what useful and/or fanciful products they can tease out of it. They too will work closely with the cooperatives, receiving and testing out their ideas and helping their members with production. Avina is waiting in the shadows for one of the cooperatives they work with to propose a manufacturing and distribution plan that they can support with their funding and facilitation resources, and it is very likely that they will be behind the first complete test case. The Working World (La Base) will help identify and work with the cooperatives which have the most likely chance of developing a successful manufacturing channel, and will establish and administer a revolving hotpress loan fund to enable the cooperatives to purchase a hotpress. And the cooperatives will be the innovators, the inspired ones, for they are filled with people who have hope, who struggle every day, who work so hard with so very little, yet can stand on their own shoulders and see beyond what they do now into a future where they deserve and will have a little bit more.