Recently in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Arirang-brand injection-moulded boots are very popular for their beautiful colours and shapes and their high quality.

The boots are produced by the Ryongsong Honoured Disabled Ex-soldiers’ Injection-moulded Boots Factory. What is amazing is that all of the main materials used by the not so-large factory are waste plastic.

Recycling—Basic Strategy

What is noticeable inside the factory is the catchword “Waste if thrown out, treasure if used.” The phrase implies the factory’s basic strategy.

A process for using waste plastic to make injection-moulded boots was established in the factory in accordance with the strategy.

The factory had previously used plastic to make such shoes. Waste plastic had been also mixed with plastic for the production, but only in an extremely limited amount because it was impossible to ensure the quality of the products if the mixing ratio was exceeded.

It was four years ago that Kim Yun Hwan, manager of the factory, and the workers decided to substitute plastic waste for new plastic material completely for the production of the boots. Because they came to regard waste plastic as useful treasure. Now injection-moulded boots made from waste plastic are as good as those made from the new one in tensile strength, elongation and lustrousness.

Meanwhile, the factory uses by-products from the production of the boots to make quality floss, and uses waste plastic and sawdust to make wooden-plastic composite building materials and TV tables. It also uses other waste materials to make plasticizer.

Recently it has begun to produce nice and quality injection-moulded shoes for men using the line it established by itself. Year after year the factory increases production several times while remarkably reducing the production cost by recycling hundreds of tons of waste plastic and other kinds of waste.

Developing Capacity

The factory’s recycling scheme is steadily expanding thanks to its own technical force.

A dozen years ago, when the injection-moulded boots production line was established, it had few relevant technicians, and plastic injection was strange to all the technicians.

Then the factory saw to it that its workers attended a study-while-you-work course, and that some young workers went to college full time. Now nearly half of the workers have developed into competent qualified technicians; they invented and made an impact selecting machine, a rotaryblade defibrator, a mould filtration net and so on, and put the waste plastic sorting and treating jobs on a flow line.

Kim Chol Jin, a graduate of Hamhung University of Chemical Industry, made a great contribution to improving the quality of products by developing a plasticizer substitute using waste. The manager says, “The economic profit from the use of waste plastic is great. What is more important is that the developing capacity of my factory has reached a new high level. And it is steadily increasing.”