Mindanao's 1st 'Eco-brick' Hub benefits former garbage pickers

THE City Government of Cagayan de Oro unveiled on Tuesday, March 19, the first Eco-brick Hub in Mindanao, which is seen to significantly reduce consumer plastic wastes produced in the city, and at the same time help former garbage pickers get an additional livelihood.

This project was also in partnership with Nestle Philippines, and Green Antz Builders, Inc. The facility has the capacity to turn laminated plastic wastes, such as candy wrappers, sachet packaging, plastic bottles, into bricks that can be used for construction on buildings, houses, and other infrastructure deemed necessary.

City Mayor Oscar Moreno said this project is a new opportunity to former garbage scavengers of the old landfill.

Around 300 pickers will be benefited from this project, these pickers are those who once scavenged the old landfill in Zayas to look for things that can still be sold.

The processing facility is also located in the old landfill, as Moreno said the new development forms part of the ongoing rehabilitation of the old landfill, of which part of it will be transformed into an Eco-park.

Meanwhile, in an interview with Rommel Benig, president and chief executive officer of Green Antz Builders Inc., he said eco-bricks are more durable and firm compared to the usual hollow block.

Eco-bricks cost around P22 to P24 each, more expensive to the regular hollow blocks at P6-9 each, but Benig said using eco-bricks is actually cost-efficient, since you will be needing less cement, less labor, and does not need plastering.

“You will need less material, and less labor,” Benig said.

The mixture include cement, gravel, water, sand, and the plastics. But he said each eco-brick will only require less sand, since the plastics are used to substitute sand.

He also said that plastics have insulating properties, so a building made of these unique bricks produce cooler temperatures.

City Local Environment and Natural Resources Office head Armen Cuenca said, this new facility is part of the city's campaign to reduce garbage.

Cuenca said its partnership with Nestle is important, especially since they produce most laminated plastics.

“Some companies already expressed interest to buy our eco-bricks. After this, we will strengthen segregation of garbage at source, urge households to separate laminated plastics,” he added.

Christine Ponce-Garcia, Nestle's corporate affairs executive said they acknowledged that its corporation has a big obligation to address the problem on consumer plastic waste.

“We know we have the obligation to partner with our local government units to teach them that we can recycle plastics, and they should not be thrown away to landfills,” she said.


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