Japanese firm invests in recycling plant

AIMING to address the problem on plastic wastes in Cebu and transform these into useful byproducts, a Yokohama-based Japanese firm has invested P220 million for a waste plastic recycling facility in the town of Consolacion—said to be the first in Cebu.

GUUUN Corp., formerly Mansei Recycle Systems (MRS) in Japan, formally inaugurated yesterday a 2,400-square-meter recycling plant in Sitio Sun-ok in Barangay Tayud.

Using Japanese technology, plastic wastes are converted into “fluff fuel,” or shredded waste plastics, which can be used as as replacement for coal that is now being used by cement and steel companies in Japan. Shigeo Kohno, GUUUN Philippines general manager, said fluff fuel is more environment-friendly than coal. In addition, the process of recycling plastics in itself is a pressing need nowadays.

For Cebu City alone, Kohno said, a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) conducted in 2012, showed that 870,000 of its population generated 500 tons of garbage per day. Of this, 11 percent, or approximately 55 tons of plastics are thrown daily.

“Sadly, these plastics are just thrown in the landfill and plastics do not decompose easily,” Kohno said.

The Japanese firm was supposed to build the plant in Cebu City, but the official said they could not find a place. Yokohama City and Cebu City, represented by then-mayor Michael Rama, were in talks on this since 2012. Rama also visited the Guuun headquarters in Japan on March of the same year.

The Consolacion plant can recycle up to four tons of garbage per hour, or about 80 tons per day, with 18 local employees on board. As demand for fluff fuel increases over time, the company plans to add around 15 to 20 people.

At present, GUUUN Philippines has tapped Apo Cement Corp. based in the City of Naga to supply the cement company with fluff fuel. Kohno, however, said there is no agreement yet as to the amount of fluff fuel his company will supply to Apo Cement.

In addition, the Japanese firm is also hoping that Holcim will join the initiative of using fluff fuel to process cement.

GUUUN Philippines sources plastic wastes from industrial companies or factories directly, or through local hauling companies .

“In the near future, we will get the waste plastics from household when segregation of waste plastics at home is practically performed,” said Kohno.

The company obtained a portion of its investment for the Consolacion plant from Japan’s government, Ministry of the Environment (MoE) under the “Financing Programme to Demonstrate Advanced Low-Carbon Technology Innovation for Further Deployment in Developing Countries” project budgeted under the Joint Credit Mechanism (JCM) scheme based on bilateral agreement with Japan and a host country.

The Japanese firm has entered into a lease agreement for a 6,600-square-meter private property for 15 years in Consolacion where it currently operates.
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