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Earth Day 2021, reflecting on a Story of Unity Through Recyclables

This Earth Day and #TBT, we reflect on one of our 2014 projects in Mbabane, Swaziland. As with any building project, construction waste is something that must be dealt with on a daily basis.  BLHI is committed to employing best practices regarding the management of waste materials. Our overseas projects develop a Construction Waste Management Plan specific to their local environment. In developing countries, however, a common issue often arises – what to do with materials that could be recycled or salvaged in a country like Swaziland that does not have the resources to do so?

Through contacts at a local charitable group, a BLHI employee learned that Pachimana Weaving, a local art studio, might be interested in collecting waste materials from the U.S. Embassy construction site. Pachimana is a Shona word that refers to vital, sustainable life practices for the balanced existence of a progressive community. Owner, Raymon Mhishi has committed himself to repurpose recyclable waste into art, clothing, and furniture.

The BLHI project team and Mhishi met to plan to divert waste from the jobsite toward various projects designed to benefit others in need. Mr. Mhishi and his assistant eagerly began working with the recycled products, and what they were creating remained unknown to BLHI until it was nearly complete.

Project Helmet Flag, also known as ‘Uncle Sam is in the Valley,’ is an art piece modeled in the likeness of a United States flag. The piece includes materials discarded exclusively from the jobsite, such as used hard hats and linings, work overalls, and even plastic spoons from the dining facility provided by BLHI on the jobsite. In August 2014, the art piece was purchased by the U.S. Embassy in Swaziland to be proudly displayed in their new facility.



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