A COMMUNITY cooperative from Toledo City is utilizing plastic waste and ash byproducts from the burnt coal in the Therma Visayas Inc. (TVI) power plant to create eco-friendly bricks, hollow blocks and pavers.
TVI operates the 340-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Barangay Bato, Toledo City, Cebu.
The Toledo United Farmers, Fishermen and Women Workers (Tuffwow) have been making hollow blocks, pavers and bricks since 2022, after the devastation of Typhoon Odette (Rai).
Since the hollow blocks they make come from reinforced materials made from plastic waste and ash byproducts, the products are said to be nine times stronger and more resilient than the traditional hollow blocks and bricks.
Communities in Toledo City have been encouraged to be part of the project with a “Basura Mo Bigas Ko” program that exchanges two kilos of laminated plastic waste like junk food wrappers and shampoo sachets with one kilo of rice.
Aboitiz Power, through TVI, provides the rice, but the program has been channeled through the barangay officials, where they would be the ones responsible for the collection of the plastic waste the residents in their respective barangays would want to exchange for rice.
Marigold Lebumfacil, reputation and stakeholder management specialist of Aboitiz Power Corp., said this program has allowed the sourcing of plastics sustainable for the production of the construction materials.
Schools have also been tapped to collect their plastic waste, receiving school materials like bond paper in exchange.
Manny Ducor, a Tuffwow member and worker in the production site, said aside from the program allowing them to have a source of income, it also encourages them and their communities to be more conscious of the impacts of pollution and environmental damage in their areas.
The cooperative has been able to sell to local buyers, and are now in the process of mass producing for clients from Bacolod City.
Its hollow blocks are priced at P60, more expensive than the usual hollow blocks, due to their reinforced nature and longevity, according to Tuffwow chairman emeritus Julius Polayapoy.
Around 1,000 members of Tuffwow are part of the Project B.R.I.C.K (Building Resilient Infrastructure for Communities and Kalikasan) by TVI, a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power. / EKV