NESTLé Philippines together with Valenzuela City, the Department of Education (DepEd) and Green Antz Builders Inc. launched on Monday a city-wide residual waste-recovery program in Valenzuela City, known as “plastic city” for hosting a number of plastic factories in Metro Manila.
Nestlé Philippines’s first, the program called May Balik! Sa Plastik!, promotes proper waste segregation, recycling, and disposal—with a particular focus on the collection of its product—packaging materials that end up in sanitary engineered landfills or open dumps.
In Metro Manila, which produces around 9,000 metric tons of waste every day, waste-collection efficiency is highest at 80 percent. This means that 20 percent of the wastes remain uncollected and end up in vacant lots or clogging canals, which eventually drain to Manila Bay.
The program targets the recovery of waste laminates such as postconsumer sachets and used beverage cartons, considered residual wastes and comprise the bulk of ocean-plastic pollution. The Philippines is the third-largest source of ocean plastic pollution.
Under the program, using appropriate technologies, these so-called residual wastes may still be used for recycling, upcycling or coprocessing in cement kilns.
The program is the first city-specific residual waste-recovery program by Nestlé Philippines, which was identified by international environmental group Greenpeace as one of the top plastic-waste polluters in the Philippines, based on a brand audit it conducted in the past two years.
A first-class city, Valenzuela City is determined to challenge the perception that plastic is bad. Properly managed, plastic or even its so-called residual waste, have its positive impact to livelihood, and environment, Mayor Rexlon Gatchalian said during the launch at the city’s Amphitheater.
Speaking mostly in Filipino, Gatchalian said through the program, they hope to encourage proper use and disposal of plastics as it also has positive effect to the environment and through the program, to help improve the living condition in Valenzuela City by converting these residual wastes either into cash or food items.
Valenzuela City is among the very few cities in the National Capital Region (NCR) without an ordinance that bans the use of single-use plastic or Styrofoam.
The launch of the program was attended by some 2,500 public-elementary pupils and the city’s street sweepers and waste collectors who will play a crucial role under the program.
“Tackling the problem of plastic waste in the environment and arriving at sustainable solutions are of paramount importance to Nestlé,” the company’s Chairman and CEO Kais Mazouki said.
Marzouki recalled that in April 2018, Nestle announced a global commitment that 100 percent of its packaging will be designed for recycling or reusable by 2025 as it envisions that none of its waste ends up in landfill or as litter.
He said this can be achieved through three focus areas namely developing packaging of the future; helping shape a waste-free future through collction and recycling and addressing consumer beliefs and behaviors.
“At Nestle Philippines, we are accelerating our efforts to find solutions to the plastic problem,” he said. He added while the company looks for innovative packaging solutions, it is also imperative to take immediate action to stop leakage into waterways and oceans, and find ways to recycle its packaging.
Under the program and in partnership with Green Antz Builders Inc. the proponents of the program will encourage school children to turn over their sachets and used beverage cartons in designated outlets. In return, they get a raffle ticket which gives them the chance to bring home prizes every week.
Green Antz Builders Inc. an innovative social enterprise which manufactures alternative construction materials, will use these residual waste as raw materials for eco-bricks.
The company will collect the plastic wastes from the schools and barangays.
The bulk of the collection will go to Republic Cement for co-processing in its cement kilns.
Under the program, DepEd Valenzuela will assign and gather coordinators per school to train them.
Program partners hope to reduce the volume of residual wastes that end up in sanitary landfills.
Marzouki said Nestle Philippines is in search of other LGU partners to boost its residual waste-recovery program.