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THE PLASTIC BENCH PROJECT
RECYCLE and REPURPOSE: FROM PLASTIC BOTTLES TO BENCHES

May 23, 2024

Plastic waste has become one of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time. As a versatile and durable material, plastic has revolutionized numerous industries, offering convenience and affordability. However, its durability has also become its curse, as discarded plastic accumulates in landfills, oceans, and ecosystems worldwide, posing significant threats to wildlife, human health, and the planet's ecological balance.

 

Each year, millions of tons of plastic waste are generated globally, with only a fraction being properly recycled or disposed of. The rest ends up in the natural environment, where it persists for hundreds of years, breaking down into smaller particles known as microplastics that infiltrate soil, waterways, and even the air we breathe.

 

The consequences of plastic pollution are far-reaching and multifaceted. Marine life suffers from entanglement, ingestion, and habitat destruction, leading to population decline and ecosystem disruption. On land, plastic waste contributes to soil degradation, contaminates water sources, and poses health risks to humans through the food chain.

 

Addressing the plastic waste crisis requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses policy interventions, technological innovations, behavioral changes, and community engagement. By raising awareness, promoting sustainable practices, and investing in recycling infrastructure, we can mitigate the impacts of plastic pollution and transition towards a more circular economy where waste is minimized, resources are conserved, and the environment is safeguarded for future generations.

 


Upon taking office, Mayor Elen Nieto, through the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources (MENRO) and Waste Management Office (WMO), initiated the Waste Analysis and Characterization Study (WACS) in November 2022. This study produced the following outcomes:

Fig. 1 shows that the large portion of the household waste belongs to the recyclable amounting to almost half of the total.

As recyclable materials, particularly plastic waste, constitute the primary waste generated by households, the Municipal Government of Cainta, Rizal, endeavors to address this issue by implementing strategies to reduce, reuse, recycle, and divert these wastes.

A town-wide information, education, and communication campaign was conducted to inform the community and stakeholders of the current situation of our garbage.

As a result of the IEC Campaign, several recycling bins were strategically placed in key locations throughout Cainta, such as Villages, subdivision parks, schools, markets, and public buildings and members of the community are encouraged to separate their plastic waste from other types of garbage. They can then dispose of these plastic items in the designated plastic recycling bins in their communities, and the Municipal Government, through the Waste Management Office, collects all the plastic bottles in all the plastic recycling bins.

The One Cainta Plastic Recycling Bins project is a community-driven initiative designed to address the pressing issue of plastic waste in Cainta. By strategically placing recycling bins throughout the community, the project aims to encourage residents to responsibly dispose of their plastic waste.

Table 1 illustrates the Distribution of Plastic Garbage Bins across Cainta, Rizal.

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In response to managing this plastic waste, the Municipal Government collaborated with various Waste Diverters like Holcim-Geocycle Philippines to redirect our plastic waste to their cement kiln. This collaboration aligns with the waste reduction and recycling efforts of the Municipality of Cainta, Rizal.

A total of nearly 38,000,000 kilograms of plastic waste have been diverted to our waste diversion partners. However, there is still an excessive amount of plastic waste, and it is necessary to consider new technologies to further reduce it.

The Municipal Government remains committed to exploring alternative methods for reusing plastics. Through diligent research, we have identified a machine capable of transforming plastic waste into "plastic lumbers". All plastics collected from the recycling bins undergo sorting and shredding before being processed in the plastic densifier. This process results in the production of plastic lumbers, which are then utilized in crafting upcycled plastic benches.

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Plastic Densifier machine

Greenland Jasmine Park Plastic Bench

Brookside Oval Plastic Bench

No. 73 A. Bonifacio Ave., Brgy. Sto. Domingo,

Cainta, Rizal, 1900

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