MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Snacks company Mondelēz International in the Philippines is continuing its partnership with social enterprise The Plastic Flamingo (PLAF) for plastic waste collection and recycling. Started in 2020, the growth of the partnership shows the potential of the recycling industry in the Philippines and how it can support waste management to avoid marine litter. This 2022, Mondelēz International and PLAF are working with real estate developer Megaworld Corporation for plastic collection initiatives in five of its malls to provide avenues for communities to practice proper waste collection and disposal.
Not many people know what happens to plastic waste after it is thrown in the waste bin. Ideally, when you throw it in the bin, plastic waste should end up in the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) of your barangay for segregation – if not already segregated at home or by your waste collectors. After segregation, the plastic is recycled depending on its type, whether it is a bottle or sachet. In the Philippines, plastic recycling companies and organizations already exist and are growing; providing ways for waste to be reused. However, not all waste follows this ideal journey, plastic or not. The unfortunate reality is that waste – whether plastic, metal, or paper – ends up as litter when it is not disposed of properly in bins, or if they are collected but illegally dumped in open land or in bodies of water.
Providing Ways for Plastic to be Recycled
Contrary to the misconception that plastic is waste, the PLAF is demonstrating that it can be reused to make new things that we need. “We want to become part of the solution, and not the pollution,” shared PLAF Chief Operating Officer Erica Reyes. “Our work at PLAF consists of collecting, segregating, transforming and designing plastic for reuse. We make practical construction materials out of plastic, like eco-lumber and eco-boards. This ensures that we are able to recycle plastic, and at the same time help reduce the use of precious resources like wood or minerals to make furniture or even shelters.” Currently, the PLAF can make and sell eco-lumber and eco-boards which can be used to make outdoor furniture, bike racks, benches, tables and others.
Strengthening the Circular Economy
“We support circular economy organizations like the PLAF,” explained Mondelēz International Country Manager for Corporate and Government Affairs, Atty. Joseph Fabul. “The Circular Economy is one where plastic remains in the economy by being reused and recycled, and stays out of the environment. Our goal is to make snacks with better packaging, to make it easier to recycle; to use less packaging by optimizing our pack sizes; and supporting improved systems through the collection of as much plastic as we put into the environment. We call this focus sustainable snacking, where people and planet thrive.”
He continued, “We have worked with the PLAF since 2020 to collect post-consumer plastic for reuse and recycling. Since then, the plastic we have collected has been turned into outdoor furniture which were donated to the City of Parañaque and into eco-boards which are sold by the PLAF to fund further collection activities.”
From 2020 to 2021, Mondelez International and PLAF have collected 43,000 kilos of post- consumer plastic which were repurposed into upcycled products. For this year, the company continues to strengthen its partnership with the social enterprise to collect and recycle another 20,000 kilos and turn it into usable eco-boards.
This year, Mondelēz International is also supporting PLAF’s partnership for a year-long waste collection drive in five Megaworld Lifestyle Malls, namely Eastwood Mall, Lucky Chinatown Mall, McKinley Hill, Uptown Bonifacio and Arcovia City. The collection drive began on August 15 in Eastwood Mall, and for three launch days in each mall, consumers who bring in their plastic waste can get Mondelēz International treats as thanks for helping support proper waste management.
“Sustainability is in one of our core thrusts as a company, we are always open to collaborating with organizations which promote the same values. I want to thank Mondelēz International and PLAF for working with us in this milestone project,” said Megaworld Lifestyle Malls Head, Graham Coates. “We are glad that our malls have become avenues where people can practice a greener lifestyle. At Megaworld, we are committed to a culture of environmental consciousness and we continuously look for ways to practice and incorporate it in our township and lifestyle properties.”
For more details about this program, click here or click to learn more about the PLAF.