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Planks of Promise – The Plastic Flamingo

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The Challenge

There is a lack of efficient waste management systems in the urban centres of Manila, the capital city of Philippines but this is even more pronounced in the ‘barangays’ (neighbourhoods) of Metro Manila and other Filipino cities. 

With limited formalised waste collection and sorting systems, there is a high chance of waste being illegally dumped and plastic waste leaking into the environment. The Philippines disposes an estimated 2.7 million tons of plastic waste each year, and is one of five Asian countries that account for about 60% of the plastic waste leakage into the ocean globally (the others being China, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam)*.  

"Asia is an important focus for the Alliance, as it accounts for 80% of plastic waste leaking into the environment. Supporting partners like The Plastic Flamingo in the Philippines means we are able to bring resources and expertise to scale proven solutions at the frontline where it matters. With Planks of Promise, we can develop a sustainable waste management system that fits the needs of the local community, and at the same time provide strong yet affordable emergency shelters during natural disasters."

Jacob Duer / President and CEO, Alliance to End Plastic Waste

The Opportunity

The Alliance announced its first partnership and investment in the Philippines with local social enterprise, The Plastic Flamingo. The project, named Planks of Promise, will scale up collection of plastic waste in the Metro Manila area, and process the collected plastic waste in a new recycling facility.   

There is also the goal of turning plastic waste to a valuable resource and in this aspect, The Plastic Flamingo has partnered with the University of the Philippines Diliman to transform plastic waste into “ecoplanks” that can be used to make emergency shelter kits, providing temporary housing to Filipinos displaced by natural disasters. The shelter kits can be acquired and donated by various non-governmental organisations to the most exposed local communities. The planks can also be sold to contribute to the operating costs of the recycling facility. 

The Plastic Flamingo, a social enterprise launched in the Philippines in 2019, provides a unique solution to the plastic waste problem. They work with investors, sponsors, and corporate partners to manage over 62 collection points to help collect, sort and recycle plastic waste. With the support of the Alliance, the Planks of Promise initiative aims to more than triple this number to 200 collection points by 2022. 

The all-woman operations team from The Plastic Flamingo at the waste collection facility in Parañaque, Manila. The Plastic Flamingo provides safe, reliable jobs for women in their communities, hoping that women will eventually make up 70% of their workforce.

The Progress

The Plastic Flamingo is in the process of acquiring a site for the new recycling facility, and they aim for it to be fully operational by the end of 2020. 

"With the help of the Alliance, this project will ramp up plastic waste recycling rates over the next three years, and we hope to recycle 2,000 metric tons per year by 2022."

François Lesage / CEO, The Plastic Flamingo

* A problem as huge as the ocean” by Rex Lor, Head of Solutions Mapping, Accelerator Lab of the UNDP Philippines, November 2019   

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