City-academe collaboration for eco-innovation and plastic-free cities
In partnership with the Iloilo City government, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and barangay (community) officials, Central Philippine University (CPU) has introduced circular economy models in 13 pilot communities to reduce plastic waste across the value chain – from sustainable consumption, production and management of plastics, as well as their alternatives.
Collaborative efforts between the public sector and educational institutes have prevented the leakage of 305 metric tonnes per month of plastic waste into the environment. Beyond the positive environmental impacts, this project has also resulted in an increased awareness within the community and stakeholders on the issue of plastic pollution and advanced knowledge of the ‘3Rs’ – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. This impact has been especially significant amongst households, who feel empowered to be a part of the solution to addressing plastic pollution in their community – no matter how small their contribution might be.
Furthermore, the 13 pilot barangays were provided with equipment, such as motorcycles with a sidecar and push carts, which make waste and plastic collection more expedient and efficient. Collected recyclables were sold to a partner junk shop, with the revenue from sales then being used to pay the allowances of participating individuals and the material recovery facility manager.
This circular economy model has not only mitigated the environmental impacts of plastic pollution but has also empowered the communities of waste collectors and waste facility managers helping to implement the project. Furthermore, as the recycling system becomes more efficient, incentives are raised for the recycling chain actors to practice circular practices.