Three elephants standing on top of a pile of plastic in Sri Lanka looking for rubbish amongst the garbage.

Plastic Education and Recycling in Sri Lanka

Educate the community on plastic pollution as you clean the beaches in Sri Lanka

At a glance

Combat plastic pollution on the beautiful island nation of Sri Lanka as you educate communities about the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling. You’ll work alongside passionate environmentalists as you reduce the amount of plastic waste in and around the capital city of Colombo, Sri Lanka.  

The worldwide usage of plastic is at an all-time high with only 10% being recycled. Despite its convenient uses for the human population, plastic is extremely destructive to both land and water ecosystems. Not only does it cause harm to wildlife habitats, but it threatens their lives too. Entanglement and ingestion of plastic are two of the leading causes of death amongst wildlife.

Based in Colombo, you’ll live with a local host family and gain an authentic perspective of this unique country through your interactions with them and other locals. Your trip also wouldn’t be complete without a few visits to popular tourist attractions. You’ll get to spend time at the Sigiriya Rock Fortress and sample authentic local dishes in Kandy.

Start Dates: 

Throughout the year

See Dates

Minimum Duration: 

One Week


18 or over

Is fighting against plastic pollution in Sri Lanka right for me?

If you’d call yourself an eco-warrior and are passionate about conserving our planet for future generations, then this project is perfect for you. You’ll get to protect the environment while traveling around Sri Lanka with a group of people who believe in the reduce, reuse, recycle mindset.

You’ll play a pivotal role in the community, educating school students and community stakeholders about the importance of recycling plastic and other material alternatives. You don’t need any previous experience to join, just a passion for the environment and the energy to inspire future generations to conserve and protect the planet. 

Throughout your time in Sri Lanka, you’ll have 24/7 support from Projects Abroad. We’ll help you engage with life in Sri Lanka, the people, and the culture. 

Volunteers building a wall of plastic bottles as part of a plastic recycling initiative in Sri Lanka

Educate the community on the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling 

Education is key when it comes to changing behaviors. By teaching the community about the harm plastic pollution is doing to the environment, they’ll be more likely to make a change in their own lives. 

You’ll run an awareness workshop at a school  where you’ll educate students on the importance of recycling, cutting out plastic waste and ecosystem conservation. You can create PowerPoints, play games or use interactive activities 

Remove plastic and other waste from the community and beaches 

Sri Lanka is an island paradise blessed with beautiful beaches that attract tourists from around the world. However, with the cities being so densely populated, plastic pollution is one of the main causes for concern around the country - including the many beaches. 

You’ll help clear the plastics and other waste from the beaches and community as you travel around Sri Lanka. This will prevent marine life from consuming and getting entangled in plastic debris, as well as conserving the natural beauty of Sri Lankan temples, gardens and national parks.

You’ll use the quadrant method to track the amount of plastic in certain sections so that your impact can be measured. This will help you identify the worst affected areas so you can prioritize collection efforts there. 

Clean, sort and repurpose plastic at the recycling centre

Alongside other group members you’ll work to clean, sort and repurpose the plastic that you have collected. The plastic needs to be cleaned to ensure it's safe and in a condition to be repurposed. 

Once clean, the plastic can be repurposed through the molding machine at the recycling facility. You’ll be able to create plant pots for schools or perhaps create some jewelry to remember the trip by. Whatever you decide to create, it will symbolize your commitment to a plastic-free future.  

Immerse yourself in the culture and explore the country

No trip is ever complete without a few sightseeing outings. You’ll get to visit the famous city of Kandy and uncover its ancient past. You can expect fun, thrills, and everything in between with rolling lush green hills and the wildlife to match. 

Notably, you’ll visit the Temple of Truth, botanical gardens, and stop by an ethical elephant orphanage, watching the well cared for elephants run free in a sanctuary. You’ll also be treated to a unique cultural dance show which will only add to the cultural immersion.

Where would you work during the Plastic Education project?


You’ll be based in the heart of Colombo and move around the city with the aim of educating the community and reducing plastic pollution in the country.

Sri Lanka is famed for its stunning flora and fauna, and incredible beaches. Over the weekend, you’ll have time to discover the countries natural wonders. From ancient temples to National Parks – your weekends will be full of fun-filled adventures.

Airport pickup, flights and visas

When you arrive at your respective airport, a member of Projects Abroad staff will be there to meet you. You can find more detailed information on arrival airports, orientation, and visas on our Sri Lanka Arrival Procedures page.

What are the aims and impact of this project?

The main aim of this project is to reduce plastic pollution in Sri Lanka through awareness campaigns and community clean ups. 

In and around Colombo, plastic is piling up on the streets, blocking drains and encouraging rats which spread disease. Because of this, some locals bury or burn the plastic. This has even more negative effects as the plastic can contaminate groundwater supplies and burned plastic is toxic when inhaled. 

Although plastic pollution affects the whole world, Sri Lanka has a heightened concern because fish make up 55% of the protein consumed and the majority of fish are contaminated with microplastics. These microplastics end up being ingested by Sri Lankans which is a major health hazard.

To protect against these negative effects in Sri Lanka, join us in the fight to eradicate plastic pollution once and for all.

A row of plants growing from recycled plastic bottles in a children's classroom in Sri Lanka

Measuring our impact

Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.

Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.

Food and accommodation

You'll stay with a host family in or around Colombo. They will welcome you into their home, eager to share their customs and have you teach them about your own culture. We believe that this is the best way to immerse yourself in the culture of Sri Lanka and have a truly unique experience.

We will always try to let you live alongside at least one other Projects Abroad volunteer or intern at the same host family. Your room will be modest, but comfortable, clean, and safe.

Your programme fee includes three meals a day.

Find out more about our accommodation.

Safety and staff support

Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.

Find out more about safety and backup.

When you apply you only pay a $295 deposit, which comes off the total program fees.

Things are changing rapidly these days. If you have ANY questions, please call us at (+1) 619 320 2424 and we’ll fill you in on the latest updates.

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