Millions of waste plastic turned into thousands of 'new normal' school chairs
After year-round collection efforts over the school year 2019-2020, P&G Philippines and World Vision’s Pag-Asa sa Basura program recovered a total of 3.2 million pieces of plastic sachets and over 870,000 plastic bottles.
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Millions of waste plastic turned into thousands of 'new normal' school chairs
(Philstar.com) - October 12, 2020 - 5:21pm

MANILA, Philippines — Millions of used sachets that could have ended up in landfills or as marine litter have been successfully upcycled to school chairs with safety dividers.

After year-round collection efforts over the school year 2019-2020, P&G Philippines and World Vision’s Pag-Asa sa Basura program recovered a total of 3.2 million pieces of plastic sachets and over 870,000 plastic bottles.

This sustainability initiative is part of P&G’s commitment to help boost plastic waste recovery in the country. The company and World Vision have donated back 1,040 upcycled plastic school chairs to 26 participating schools in Malabon and Quezon City. The chairs are now being used by teachers and parents during pick-up and submission of modules as the schools transition to blended learning and will be even more useful when schools gradually resume face-to-face learning.

With the strong support of the Department of Education, the program established links between schools and their respective materials recovery facilities (MRF) to systematize recovery and collection, segregation, recycling and upcycling efforts. The program rehabilitated the MRFs and distributed collection bins to aid plastic collection and segregation. In return, students also received incentives such as school supplies and gift tokens for collecting plastic waste and turning these over to the MRF for eventual upcycling. 

From a manufacturing standpoint, P&G’s Cabuyao Manufacturing Plant, where most of its trusted health and hygiene brands are produced, is already a certified Zero Manufacturing Waste to Landfill facility. 

Alongside plastic waste recovery and recycling, the Pag-asa sa Basura program educated students, teachers and parents on the fundamentals of proper solid waste management. To deepen their awareness and commitment, World Vision trained over 50 teachers and parents, who all became the strong advocates and prime movers for the schools and their respective communities. They were trained on plastic waste segregation, urban agriculture, and hydroponics to ensure the sustainability of the schools’ waste management system even after the program ends.

“Education on proper solid waste management is the first and most critical aspect of the Pag-asa sa Basura program. This creates a solid foundation for environmental awareness, discipline on proper waste disposal and realizing the importance of recycling and the circular economy. In doing so, we are able to nurture citizens who are aware, knowledgeable and able to act on the environmental issues we are facing today,” said Rommel Fuerte, National Director of World Vision Philippines.

An initial qualitative assessment of the program also showed that it has helped deepen knowledge on plastic waste segregation, educated students on environmental responsibilities at an early age, and enhanced the leadership skills and personal discipline of students and teachers.

The Pag-asa sa Basura program is grounded on the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003), which aims to maximize resource conservation and recovery through proper waste management. To date, World Vision and their school partners have extended training on the applications of RA 9003 to a total of 80,588 students.

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