THE first materials recovery facility (MRF) that would cater to some establishments at Baguio City's central business district was launched Friday.

The MRF would specifically cater to tenants of the Porta Vaga building complex and the Baguio Diocese, said Father Lorie Abela, manager of the Porta Vaga mall.

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The Porta Vaga building complex includes the Patria de Baguio, Antipolo buildings and the Porta Vaga mall.

Bishop Carlito Cenzon and Abela said the MRF is in response to calls made by the City Environment and Parks Management Office (Cepmo) for the public to do its share in reducing waste.

Porta Vaga produces 300 to 500 kilos of garbage daily. The bulk of the waste is made of styropore, Abela said.

With the MRF, waste generated in the CBD is reduced significantly.

The MRF is located just beside the Baguio Cathedral's car park entrance. It is a two-storey building measuring 365 square meters for the first floor and 485 square meters for the second floor.

The first floor is where sorting and shredding is done, while the second floor is where the shredded materials are processed.

Abela said compost will be used as fertilizer for the gardens of the Cathedral while the leacheate will be used to water the plants. A chemical is added to the leacheate to remove odor.

Plans are also underway for the purchase of a smelter or a plastic shredder.

The machine is currently undergoing calibration.

According to Rey Aquino, proprietor of the Triclops Engineering Services supplier of the smelter, plastic and styropore could be used again using this technology.

The smelter works first by reducing the size of the plastic into small pieces into a chamber called a "densifier." After size reduction, the plastic will undergo melting process.

Aquino said plastic will not be burned so the smell will be very minimal. A device called a "scrubber" will be used to remove the smell molecules, which go into the atmosphere.

Melted plastic, meanwhile, will fall into molds with various designs.

Abela said initially, they are thinking of creating plastic tiles as it is simpler to make.

As the MRF is now operational, Abela said tenants of the building will also have to undergo training on proper waste segregation.

Proper segregation he said would help reduce the number of hours in sorting garbage brought to the MRF.

The Porta Vaga administration has hired four sorters and an operator of the shredder. (Rimaliza Opiña)