Manila, Philippines

Collect, Certify, Circulate

In Manila, the three-pronged approach of the Collect, Certify, Circulate programme has effectively diverted plastic waste away from landfills and water bodies, and towards co-processing or recycling, including by roping in women micro-entrepreneurs as waste warriors.

URL has been copied

Overview

By co-locating waste-to-cash collection points with sari-sari (sundry) stores, to create convenient waste drop-off points, and diverting plastic waste towards recycling or co-processing, this project is helping to bring plastics circularity to the neighbourhoods of Manila.

Location

Manila, Philippines

Partner

PCX (Plastic Credit Exchange) Singapore Pte Ltd

Achieved

- Plastic waste recycled: 996 tonnes
- Emissions reduced by: approx 1,691kg CO2e

Rallying Communities and Recyclers Behind Circularity in Manila

At a sari-sari store in Marilao, Bulacan, a mini waste revolution is underway. Leading it is sari-sari store owner Evelyn Garcia – better known as Aling Evelyn – who is set up to collect plastic bottles, sachets, and styrofoam containers from her community, and direct them towards co-processing and recycling.

She is among over 100 women micro-entrepreneurs who have rallied behind plastic waste collection efforts through the Aling Tindera Waste-to-Cash initiative. The initiative is operated by Friends of HOPE, a partner of the Plastic Credit Exchange (PCX), and is part of PCX’s Collect, Certify, Circulate: Plastic Waste Recovery and Processing Programmes, which the Alliance supports. PCX works with various partners to execute audited plastic waste reduction programmes.

These eco-warriors, most of whom run small sundry shops in their barangay (districts), are provided the necessary infrastructure to set up waste collection points alongside their shops, such as container vans, scales, and balers. This allows them to buy the full range of plastic waste from community members and local waste collectors, getting used plastics off the streets, and preventing it from leaking into the streets and water bodies.

Blockchain technology is used to make collection traceable and verifiable. Collected waste is logged and then transported to pre-vetted processors, who divert them for recycling or co-processing.

As waste in the environment goes down, the women’s incomes go up – as do opportunities for their families and community members who participate in, or benefit from, their micro-businesses. Aling Evelyn’s income – which has increased by up to 1,600 pesos a week – not only helps cover her family’s basic needs but has allowed her child to finish school.

During the first phase of the project in 2022, 996 tonnes of unmanaged post-consumer waste was diverted from rivers and streets, five months ahead of schedule, not least because of the efforts of “Alings” like Evelyn.

By end-August 2023, there were 130 active Aling Tindera sites in Manila, and the initiative is being expanded nationwide.

Waste was also collected through institutional partners such as SM Supermalls and SM Cares in a separate programme under the same project. This allowed individuals to drop off their plastic waste at collection points such as shopping malls and townships.

A third programme under the project involved working with aggregators, pre-processors and processors, who recover and process plastic, and ensure it is kept out of the environment. Mixed plastic waste that could not be recycled, for instance, was collected by Greencycle, which processed the waste and sent it for co-processing as a coal substitute in cement factories, resulting in a carbon emissions reduction of approximately 1,691kg CO2e.

The Philippines is the third largest plastic polluter globally, after China and Indonesia, generating over 2.7 million tonnes of plastic waste annually. Some 83% of this is mismanaged, and 20% (approx 0.75 million tonnes) enters the ocean each year.

The Alliance has funded a second early impact initiative by PCX, which began in May 2023, and involves a tie-up with plastic recycler Royal Rainbow Recycling to collect and process PET waste into raw materials for the overseas textile industry.