My tourism group ATON (Association of Tourguides of Negros) was lucky enough to visit Peace Pond – the first Department of Tourism accredited Agri-Tourism site in southern negros. Peace Pond is also home to a very interesting initiative – the Blastik Project.
We met with Checcs Osmeña-Orbida and her husband Jet Orbida who run Peace Pond and the Blastik Project. The project is – to use Mrs Orbida’s own words – is a full-circle plastic bottle collection & recycling program replicable in barangays, villages, LGUs, organizations and small companies. We were able to see first hand how awesome the Blastik Project is.
If our faces look horrified in the picture above – it is because we were learning about the Philippines is the 3rd largest producer of plastic waste in the world! We were also shown videos of how plastic impacts the life of sea animals and humans. We learned that plastics break down and turn into microplastics – that last for 500 years. These microscopic plastic remnants also turn up in human food such as sea salt.
Mrs Orbida – hereafter referred to as Ma’am Checcs also taught us about the different types of plastic bags and how to tell the difference between a biodegradable bag and a bag that is bad for the environment. I was particularly pleased to discover that two pasalubong chains in Bacolod are already using the biodegradable type of plastic.
Now on to what the Blastik Project is. It’s a program that educates communities on the importance of a plastic waste management and recycling system. The Blastik Project also teaches communities that their plastic waste still has use and can be a source of income for them.
PET Plastic Bottles are collected by the staff and placed in a materials recovery facility. PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate or simply polyester. PET is also fully recyclable so it can be recycled over and over. The vehicle for collecting the plastic bottles is an eco bike – a trike that runs on electricity.
Ma’am Checcs also showed us the proper way to build a materials recovery facility. The facility among other things should be open to the wind and elevated to deny pests a breeding ground.
After being washed, cleaned and used – the bottles are used in so many wonderful ways. They can be used as building materials…
They can also be used to cool down the air without using electricity! The learning center had these installed in a wall. Here is how the cooling works. The air is cooled as it passes through the tip of the bottle. Very ingenious and practical! It can be cooled 5 degrees lower than the outside air.
The plastic bottles are also used to make other amazing stuff that is sold or traded for in Peace Pond’s barter store and souvenir shop.
To begin making these “amazing stuff”, the bottles are processed using machines from AIDFI (Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation Inc). We were shown a demo on how these bottles are processed.
First the bottle labels are removed then bottles are chopped up into tiny pieces so that they can be processed.
The chopped up pieces are very tiny, and consistent. They look very pretty!
The plastic pieces can then be molded to make a lot of delightful things such as tables, chairs, decorative wall hangings and a lot more items.
Very pretty! These are actually VERY solid, very heavy pieces. These are not like your typical plastic chairs and tables. These are very hard and can withstand a lot of use.
There are also items like these found in the souvenir shop. If you bring in your PET bottles you can actually trade them in for cool goods.
The more PET bottles you bring in, the better items you can get. OR you could also trade for CASH.
There are so many delightful things being made out of these bottles and bottle caps. There’s stuff like clipboards…
And even the labels are folded and made into cute little purses, bags and pouches. They’re also folded into designs that are very pretty and geometric. You won’t even notice that they’re Coca Cola labels.
The bottles can also be fitted with sprinkler heads…
…to make a portable, water flow controllable, watering bottle for plants!
Another interesting thing that people can use the shredded plastic bottles for is the creation of pavers – or cobblestones mixed with a combination of plastic and cement. The resulting stones are indistinguishable from regular stones and are sturdier.
There are also several items being sold such as scented coconut oils and these delightfully chic strawberry eco bag! These fold out to become portable, reusable bags.
You can also make cups, bowls and trays. Ma’am Checcs showed us how. After grinding up all those plastic, they are placed into an extruder where the plastic is melted and it comes out very much like spaghetti!
While the plastic strand is soft, you can mold it into any shape that you would like to use.
If you wish to get in contact with Peace Pond for your community projects or if you simply want to learn about recycling, upcycling and saving the environment – simply get in touch with them using the information below. Organic farm article coming soon!
Alo, Barangay Enclaro, Binalbagan 6107, Negros Occidental
Cellphone number: 09207952856 Globelines (landline): (034)742-8500
Call ahead before visiting
Part 2 Coming soon,