In Negros Occidental, known as the “Sugar bowl of the Philippines”, a small farming community called PeacePond is attempting to reduce its environmental footprint through the Balik Plastic Project or Blastik Project, its joint initiative with the Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation (AIDFI), and supported by The Coca-Cola Foundation.
Launched in July 2019 by Jesus Antonio Orbida and CheccsOsmeña-Orbida, the Blastik Project is a plastic bottle collection and recycling program that follows the “full-circle” approach to ensure that waste will not end up in oceans, landfills, or farmlands. It seeks to educate communities on the importance of recycling and up-cycling, as well as the economic viability of PET bottles, and set up a plastic waste management system.
AIDFI and PeacePond are longtime partners of Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, through Agos – a program that provides upland communities and farms with access to safe water. PeacePond organizes the community collection and waste management system, and teaches community members how to up-cycle their plastic waste, while AIDFI develops and produces recycling technologies that can be used at the village level.
The community’s residents are able to sell their plastic PET bottles to volunteer Blastik Project “eco-rangers” aboard low carbon e-bikes. Afterwards, the bottles are taken to a materials recovery facility where they are weighed, washed, dried, and stored and where caps and labels are segregated.
Recycling technologies from AIDFI, including shredders and compression ovens, transform the packaging into new products – plastic flakes become pavers or tiles, bottle caps are melted to make plastic chairs, while labels are handcrafted into wallets, and many more.
“Now, it’s more effective to educate communities about recycling because with the machines and finished products, the people actually see the physical, tangible evidence of the beauty of recycling,” shared CheccsOsmeña-Orbida, Project Manager for the Blastik Project.
Apart from this, the Blastik Project also holds solid waste management workshops in hope that other communities will be able to follow suit. “The Blastik Project’s main goal is for a replication of the program in other communities, especially barangays, LGUs, small offices, or small organizations,” added Checcs.
Similar to the way Blastik Project is training communities to become waste-free, Coca-Cola Foundation is also turning the page on the plastic waste story with Chapter Two – a program that aims to educate, engage, and empower communities to join the battle against waste.
The Chapter Two program provides support to NGOs, social enterprises, and LGUs for community workshops on waste reduction, segregation, and recycling which will engage citizens to put their learning to practice. After plastic waste management systems are reinforced within the community, it will also be providing infrastructure and equipment for collection and recycling.
Witness how grassroots project like Blastik can make a big difference: https://www.facebook.com/CocaColaPhilippines/videos/1142092735995720/