Make recycled paper from empty cigarette packs
As Serbia and other countries in the region suffocate under all kinds of waste, from plastic to paper to glass, a Belgrade-based company is setting an example of how to deal with this burning problem: it produces recycled paper from empty cigarette packs. Thanks to Japanese partners, Naša kuća, which employs people with intellectual disabilities, now has the opportunity to build a factory that would modernize the manual production process.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and an organization in the Japanese city of Ikoma are interested in funding the construction of the recycled paper factory, which would initially employ around 30 people with intellectual disabilities.
Naša kuća employees who manually produce recycled paper were trained in an ancient Japanese technique with support from JICA, says company founder Anica Spasov, who was named one of the 100 most influential women of social entrepreneurship in Europe.
15 workers with intellectual disabilities produce 100 kg of paper per month
Naša kuća currently has more than 15 workers with intellectual disabilities, who manufacture 100 kg of recycled paper per month. The product is used by artists, but also for the production of packaging or as gift packaging.
The raw material – empty cigarette packets – is sent to Naša kuća by citizens from all over Serbia who are familiar with the project. Japan Tobacco International (JTI) has also been sending raw materials and providing financial support for eight years now.
Japanese partners will help the Naša kuća project expand to other towns in Serbia
In addition to financial support, JICA and Ikoma will provide training in factory management to Naša kuća, as well as advice on how to expand its projects to other cities and develop a network of mini-factories throughout the Serbia, according to Spasov.