Online shopping and food delivery have become part of the “new normal”. With one click, our needs and wants are delivered right away to our doorstep. However, once orders come, so is the plastic waste.
Despite the harm they pose to our landfills and oceans, plastic remains a convenient and useful packaging material. Many organizations have shifted their focus on reusing and repurposing plastic instead of totally banning it.
As the pandemic drives plastic use, the following social enterprises are encouraging Filipinos to donate their parcel packaging and other plastic waste for recycling.
JuanBag PH collects plastic packaging such as bubble wraps, courier packaging, mailer, and grocery plastic bags to be upcycled into reusable bags. The social enterprise started this year through the initiative of founder Rachelle Lacanlale who noticed the rise of plastic waste from online shopping platforms.
“JuanBag aims to reduce single-use plastics Juan at a time. We upcycle post-consumer plastics into Juan-made bags to lessen the plastic production and remove unnecessary plastic waste,” Donna Calugay, training and development head of JuanBag PH, told Manila Standard in an online interview.
They also seek to lower the packaging cost of online businesses, increase engagement with consumers, and provide livelihood opportunities.
To donate plastic waste, send a message to their Facebook page to schedule a pick-up time and date. JuanBag’s volunteer bikers, including Lacanlale, will pick up these plastic bags for free.
JuanBag is promoting a circular ecosystem by working with local businesses and communities. The collected plastics are sanitized and sent to their partner community that weaves the materials into reusable bags. Once products are ready, they offer them to online sellers as alternative packaging. This allows consumers to choose JuanBag as their packaging when checking out items online.
Consumers are free to return the bags for repair and reuse.
JuanBag has postponed its plastic collection “because we need to get more partners for drop-off points, bikers, etc. We are also getting ready for the pilot test of the bags,” explained Calugay.
As it awaits resumption of collection, JuanBag reminds consumers to be mindful of their consumption and encourages everyone to take action to protect the environment.
“We might think that we, consumers, are the end receivers of these single-use plastics, but it is actually [the] nature that suffers the most from this collected waste. It is time that we practice mindful consumption in which consumers know how the products are made, where they come from, and how they affect our environment,” emphasized Calugay.
The Plastic Flamingo (The Plaf)
Started in August 2018, The Plastic Flamingo is a French social company based in Manila. It aims to raise awareness of marine plastic pollution by gathering ocean-bound plastic waste and recycling them.
It collects all types of plastic, ranging from polypropylene containers and bottles; low-density polyethylene (LDPE) such as online shopping plastics, bubble wraps, clear firm plastics, and garbage bags; to high-density polyethylene (HDPE) packaging materials such as shampoo or lotion bottles, cleaning bottles, milk jugs, and bleach bottles, among others.
The Plaf also accepts other types of plastic like water cooler bottles, multi-material packaging, and eco-bricks.
Like ordering goods and services online, it is also easy to donate collected plastic waste. Donors simply need to contact The Plaf and schedule the pick-up date. The other option is to book a courier to deliver the plastic waste to the assigned drop-off locations within Metro Manila. Those living near a drop-off location can personally drop it off.
A few reminders before donating, according to The Plaf: the plastic waste must be cleaned and dried; it must be put in trash bags; the bags must be full and only contain plastic waste, no residual food or other liquid waste.
Green Antz Builders
Green Antz Builders, Inc. is a waste management company located in Plaridel, Bulacan. They make eco-bricks using a mixture of wet cement and shredded plastics.
This year, they partnered with Ayala Malls to hold a plastic drop-off tour in different malls in Metro Manila. The drop-off schedule and location can be found on their Facebook page.
For those who are planning to donate, the following are the types of plastics Green Antz is accepting: plastic bags, sachets, snack packs, plastic cups, lids, utensils, takeout plastic containers, and PET bottles.
A tip from Green Antz Builders before donating: compress, pack, and seal the empty, clean, and dry plastic waste in a large plastic bag, paper box, or carton. To save space, pack the bag tightly.
The E-Waste Project (TEP)
Apart from plastic waste, those who are wondering where to dispose of old and unused electronic devices such as cellphones, chargers, keyboards, mouse, earphones, flash drives, and others can send them to The E-Waste Project.
The group was initiated by student organizations to collect old and defective electronic waste.
TEP aims to educate people on the practice of proper recycling and disposal of hazardous and poisonous electronic materials. According to the group, e-waste is a rapidly growing problem that endangers public health and threatens the environment.
TEP also organizes webinars that tackle the proper disposal and management of old electronic devices.
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