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Plastic waste for groceries: Valenzuela launches swap scheme

MANILA, Philippines — Valenzuela City’s 400 street sweepers can now swap all the plastic waste they collect for groceries while public school students can win gift certificates for plastic sachets or beverage cartons they surrender to school coordinators.

The Valenzuela City government, in coordination with Nestle Philippines, launched earlier this week “May Balik sa Plastic” (Returns from Plastic), a residual management program aimed at reducing the amount of trash that ends up in landfills or oceans.

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“It’s high time that we intensify our efforts [in reducing waste],” said Kais Marzouki, Nestle Philippines chair and chief executive officer.

The multinational firm’s first citywide program will serve as a model for residual management programs in other areas nationwide.

“Our ambition is that none of our plastic packaging will end up in the landfill,” Marzouki added.

Depending on the weight of the plastic waste they collect, Valenzuela’s street sweepers will get corresponding grocery items like coffee, milk or other food items.

Students, on the other hand, will receive a coupon they can enter in a weekly raffle for every 30 used plastic sachets or five used beverage cartons. The winner will receive a P100 gift certificate from Sodexo.

200 new landfills by 2020

By 2020, the Philippines will need 200 new landfills, according to a study by Asian Development Bank and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

This is partly due to the sachet culture in the country as low-income families try to balance their budgets by buying food, toiletries and other necessities in limited quantities instead of in bulk.

One of Nestle’s goals is to change into recyclable materials the packaging of all its products by 2025.

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Right now, only 75 percent of its products come in recyclable packages.

Also present at the launch were representatives of Green Antz Builders, a social enterprise that makes eco-bricks from shredded plastic laminates, and Lingunan National High School, whose students turned 1,156 kilograms of plastic into eco chairs, tables and couches for their library.

“What we’re offering is an end-to-end solution, from collection, segregation… Our raw materials [shredded plastic] are combined with cement materials,” said Mark Yulores of Green Antz Builders.

The students of Lingunan National High School, on the other hand, showed off the tables and chairs they made from shredded plastic stuffed inside plastic soda bottles.

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TAGS: garbage swap scheme, May Balik sa Plastic, Nestle Philippines, plastic waste, valenzuela
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