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In Brazil favela, skateboards made of bottle caps promote recycling

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RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 25 (Reuters) - In Brazil's largest favela of Rocinha, on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, a local project aims to promote recycling by donating food in exchange for bottle caps that are used to build skateboards.

Each colorful skateboard is made of some 500 plastic bottle caps that are crushed, melted, placed into a mold and then baked in an industrial pizza oven. Each one takes about two hours to complete.

"It's made 100% from recycling plastic that is collected, recycled and fabricated here in Rocinha," said Arian Rayegani, a Canadian mechanical engineer who heads the Na Laje Designs project.

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Wallace Mezquita works in the production of a skateboard for "Na Laje Designs" project, using recycled plastic waste that helps garbage collectors earn donated food in the Rocinha slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil October 22, 2021. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

The project gives food donations in exchange for the bottle caps.

"We are not a skateboard factory, it's bigger than this. We want to create a hub and a center of innovation for recycling here in Rocinha," Rayegani said.

"Rocinha produces 230 tonnes of garbage per day and there is no recycling and waste management locally here that actually deals with this implementation and that is what we want to do," Rayegani added.

"Today we work on plastic but tomorrow we want to be able to recycle paper, metal, glass and beyond that. We want to bring the next generation, bring the kids here, to learn about it, to prevent the issue."

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Reporting by Leandra Camera and Sebastian Rocandio; Editing by Sandra Maler

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