Turning trash into cash

Weigh In. Twelve-year-old Rita Marie Villarin, together with her mother, Myra Flor, drove all the way from Talisay City to SM City Cebu in Cebu City to turn over her unused notebooks and pet bottlles to the Trash to Cash recycling market at the SM City, North Reclamation Area covered parking area on Friday, June 7, 2019. (SunStar File Photo / Amper Campaña)

GETTING rid of the trash and at the same time earning some amount out of it is a cliché yet effective solution for the garbage problem we have.

So said 12-year-old Rita Villarin who, together with her mother Myra Flor, drove all the way from Talisay City to SM City Cebu to sell her unused notebooks and pet bottles, one afternoon of June 7, 2019, under the mall’s institutionalized program called “Trash To Cash.”

“This is the first time that I did this. I just saw a post on Facebook about this initiative. I also want to earn from my trash,” the young girl said.

Claudine Balcos, 23, who earned around P90 out of her carton boxes, said this project helped augment her income.

She was able to sell around 90 kilos of carton boxes which she and her co-worker gathered from an establishment they work in.

“It took us (another co-worker) a month to collect all those carton boxes. Even if it’s just a small amount, at least we earn out of the things which we thought were of no use already. I will still sell trash next time,” she said in Cebuano.

The ‘Trash to Cash,’ a monthly recycling market initiative of the SM Supermalls, is a community activity, one in which SM highly encourages households and offices to collect and sort their recyclable throwaways and turn these into cash.

In SM City Cebu, the monthly recycling market, done every first Friday and Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is located at the SM covered parking lot across Bayfront Hotel.

The project accepts plastic or Pet (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles, tin and aluminum cans, books, newspapers, scratch paper, metal cookware and kitchen items.

Waste products that require special handling like batteries and gadgets can be accepted on special arrangement.

Louie Delgado, representative of Man-Tech Management Services Corp., the project’s private garbage hauler, said that as of 1:45 p.m. of June 7, they were able to collect around 1,130 kilos of mixed trash.

“We buy carton boxes, tin cans and used paper at P1 per kilo, while (we buy) those used books at 50 centavos per kilo,” he said.

Delgado said after they pick up or collect the trash from the ‘recycling market,’ they haul and segregate this in their Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Brgy. Umapad in Mandaue City.

“Some of the unique items we collect here are made of metal such as damaged metal pots. What we do is if it can still be used, we donate them. If these are already damaged, we resell them to our metal buyers. As for the paper, after the segregation, some will undergo shredding and then it can now be used as one of the ingredients in cement making,” he explained.

This initiative started around 10 years ago, he added.

Myra Flor said the trash to cash idea is something that the local government, starting from the barangay level, should adopt.

“I would definitely recommend my friends to do the same. This is encouraging, and it only proves that there is really money in trash,” she said. (WBS)


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