Cebu News

Store trades plastic trash for goods

May B. Miasco - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  Two private organizations have opened a unique barter store in Cebu with the double aim of reducing plastic waste and helping poor families in the city with some of their daily needs.

The Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation - Integrated Development Center (JPIC-IDC) Inc. and the 12 Baskets Movement of the Rotary Foundation, Inc. forged an agreement last Saturday for the operation of the first-ever Plastic Barter Store in downtown Cebu City.

This Plastic Barter Store, located at Balay Samaritano along Mabini Street, Cebu City, accepts different plastic waste in exchange for goods or various donated items.

This initiative benefits the less-fortunate because the store only caters to street children or street families, scavengers, poor garbage collectors, and the like.

The project managers, however, said they are opening their doors to donors who wish to give clothing, food items, toys, or unused but usable things.

Adrian Lee, chairman of 12 Baskets Movement, said the Plastic Barter Store is a unique response to city’s prevailing plastic waste problem.

“This is the first plastic barter store in Cebu. I don’t know if there is anything like this in other parts of the Philippines but this is the first,” he told The FREEMAN in an interview last Saturday.

“This barter store is just like general merchandise that instead of money, they can pay us with plastics. But our target market is mostly the street families and urban poor. We also dreamed of putting up another barter store in the Badjao community in Barangay Mambaling. By starting something like this, we hope that this would change the landscape of the urban settlement in the city,” he added.

The items that they can buy depend on the weight of the plastic waste that they bring in. For example, they can buy a plastic bag of rice, cloth, or school supplies in exchange for four kilos of plastic. Or they can buy toys, crayons, or slippers, in exchange for two kilos of plastics.

Other goods and items include canned goods, water tumblers, and notebooks, among others.

Lee encouraged people who are better off to also donate their unused things at home that are still in good shape.

“This is called a miracle of sharing. If you have toys or clothes, we can put those together and we just pray this will make a change for them,” he said.

“Not only in sharing, we also pray that people will have a change of heart. People nowadays just don’t care that they just throw their garbage anywhere,” he said further.

Lee is hoping that this initiative would also make people understand the value of plastics, that these are not just waste but can also be a means for others to buy food and clothing.

Interestingly, these plastics may soon be used to build houses.

Lee said these plastics will then be transported to the Eco-Hollowblocks Manufacturing Site at the San Pio Village in Barangay Dumlog, Talisay City. This subdivision is a housing project that provides permanent shelter for former dumpsite scavengers.

He said these plastics will be shredded and will eventually be formed into hollow blocks.

He said the plastics are not wasted at all because these plastic-made hollow blocks may be used by the San Pio Village cooperative to construct their own houses or to be sold to other non-government organizations or entities.

In the process, the making of plastic hollow block can become a source of livelihood for the village residents.

The JPIC-IDC is a faith-based institution that aims to contribute to the empowerment and development of people; this group operates the Balay Samaritano in Cebu City and the San Pio Village in Talisay City.

The 12 Baskets Movement, on the other hand, is run by the Rotary Foundation, Inc. of the Rotary Club of Metro Cebu that seeks to contribute creative solutions to address the city’s pressing concerns, such as plastic waste management. — BRP (FREEMAN)

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