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In the Philippines, a major polluter of the oceans, a group turns plastic waste into boards

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MANILA, Oct. 25 (Reuters) – A group of Filipino recyclers are trying to alleviate the country’s worsening plastic waste crisis by transforming bottles, single-use pouches and snack wrappers that clog rivers and damage beaches in construction materials.

The plastic Flamingo, or “The Plank,” as it is commonly called, collects waste, crushes it and then shapes it into posts and planks called “eco-wood” which can be used for fences, decks or even for make disasters. emergency shelters.

“(It’s) a 100% recycled material, 100% made from plastic waste, we also include additives and dyes and it’s rot-free, maintenance-free and chip-free,” said Erica Reyes, COO by The Plaf. officer.

After collecting more than 100 tonnes of plastic waste to date, the social enterprise is doing its part to solve a local problem that has global ramifications.

About 80% of the world’s ocean plastic comes from rivers in Asia, and the Philippines alone contributes a third of that total, according to a 2021 report from Our World in Data at the University of Oxford.

Waterproof plastic boards are stacked in the factory of the social enterprise The Plastic Flamingo or The Plaf, in Muntinlupa, Philippines, on October 18, 2021. The Plaf collects plastics from restaurants, businesses and consumers and turns them into raw material usable as waterproof boards. Photo taken October 18, 2021. REUTERS / Eloisa Lopez

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The Philippines does not have a clear strategy to tackle the plastics problem, and its environment department said it has been in contact with manufacturers to identify ways to deal with waste.

COVID-19, however, has made the battle against plastic waste more difficult to win.

According to the United Nations Environment Program, some 300 million tonnes of plastic waste is produced each year, a problem that has been exacerbated by the pandemic which has sparked a rush for plastic face shields, gloves, containers. for takeout and bubble wrap as online shopping increased.

“People don’t know how to get rid of these plastics,” said Allison Tan, marketing associate at The Plaf.

“We are giving this possibility that instead of putting it in landfills or in the oceans… you give it to recycling centers like us and we would recycle it into better products.”

In addition to tackling waste issues, the group says it is in talks with other non-governmental organizations to help rebuild homes destroyed by typhoons using their sustainable building materials.

Reporting by Adrian Portugal; Editing by John Geddie and Muralikumar Anantharaman

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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