To say that the world has a plastic problem is an understatement. According to the Ocean Crusaders, there are around "5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that mass, 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer litter the deep sea." In a landfill, single-use plastic bags take 1,000 years to degrade.
Despite the growing plastic ban and presence of recycling centers in the Philippines, they aren't enough to combat the problem. According to a 2015 report by EcoWaste Coalition, the Philippines is the third highest plastic waste generator in the world. Number one is China, followed by Indonesia.
So what can we ordinary citizens do? Aside from the usual recycling, upcycling, and using of paper bags instead of plastic, here’s one solution we at Cosmo have pledged to: ecobricks.
An ecobrick is a plastic bottle stuffed to the brim with non-biological waste, such as candy wrappers, food foil packs, shampoo sachets, disposable plastic utensils, and plastic labels. These filled-up bottles are then used as building blocks to make modular furniture, garden spaces, and full-scale buildings like schools and houses. Watch how it’s done:
Here in the Philippines, environmental group The Plastic Solution is in charge of collecting ecobricks to help build homes and planters in different communities around the country, starting with Zambales. To help spread the movement, they've enlisted the help of other environmental groups, such as the Ateneo Environmental Science Society.
We at Cosmo joined this movement by stuffing empty plastic bottles with every piece of non-biodegradable trash we could find, from food foil packs to empty beauty products. It was such an eye-opener to see how much waste one person could accumulate in just one week. We became more aware of the amount of plastic we would use up on a daily basis.
We shudder to think how these pieces of plastic—especially microbeads—easily end up in the ocean, and worse, in the stomachs of poor sea creatures.
We urge you CGs to join us as we turn our waste into useful ecobricks. But don't just mindlessly stuff your trash into empty water bottles. Watch this video for tips and tricks to make the right ecobrick:
When you've made enough ecobricks to fill a box, turn them over to the following drop-off points:
1. Ateneo Environmental Science Society (AESS) Room, MVP 307 in the Ateneo LS Campus
2. Circle Hostel (Branches at Zambales, Baler, and La Union)
3. Z Hostel, Makati
4. Lokal Hostel, Makati
5. MNL Boutique Hostel
6. UP Haring Ibong Tambayan, AS Basement
7. UP Materials Science Society, 4/F West Wing of Melchor Hall
8. PETA Theater, New Manila
9. Beatnik Inc. Room 208 Llanar Building, 77 Xavierville Quezon City
10. Mad Kahuna, Cubao Expo
11. BF Homes Barangay Office
Click here for an updated list of drop-off points.
Let's do this for Mother Nature, CGs!