DAY 18: Turning Waste into Gold

by Checcs Orbida at PeacePond Plastic Bottle Learning Center Binalbagan, Negros Occidental, Phillipines, 17 July 2017

Cordaid Global Advisor on Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilient Building Rusty Biñas shares his thoughts while Day of Learning teacher/moderator Checcs Orbida listens in

OLD HABITS DIE HARD

In the Philippines, a loyal adherence to old destructive habits is a major hindrance to progress and development. This mentality also applies to the problem of solid waste. The average Filipino doesn’t care much about waste reduction, refusal, recycling, segregation or upcycling. The purchase of products in small non-recyclable sachets, throwing and dumping trash in public spaces like streets, mixed and non-segregation of household waste — these are just a few of the harmful habits of old. These habits are some of the reasons why our country is one of the world’s top ocean polluters.

I firmly believe that the management of waste should be a lifestyle…a personal choice. If trash is a person problem, then it should follow that the solution should be from the person himself. Person problem = person solution.

THE DAY OF LEARNING

On July 15 Saturday, 13 participants converged at the PeacePond Plastic Bottle Learning Center to share their personal stories and experiences on waste management. A majority of these participants for this Day of Learning came from the city 2 hours away from PeacePond.

SHARING OUR THOUGHTS, COLLABORATING FOR THE FUTURE

For 7 hours, we not only shared but we collaborated on ideas and innovations to turn waste (personal and material) into gold (a greener life, a greener earth).

I, along with PeacePond Farmers Association Vice-President Jo Guanco, started the Day of Learning by sharing our 13-year journey on recycling and teaching solid waste management to thousands of Filipinos around the country. We also shared actual products, some of them award-winning, made from recycled materials and turned into livelihood opportunities for our PeacePond women farmers.

Payao Elementary School Principal Annabelle Alipoon shared how she, along with parents and teachers, transformed the school into a model for solid waste management — and in turn, became the 2017 National Entry for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly School.

Tree hugger Binggirl Clemente narrated how she helped set up waste recycling schemes in her mountain town Sagada.

Cordaid Global Advisor on Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilient Building Rusty Biñas talked about his inspiration for building his home Balay Bato (rock house), a testament to a healthy environment.

Bamboo advocate Darlene Casiano told of her plan to utilize bamboo into an ecological alternative to plastic home accessories like containers and utensils.

Educator Rhoderick Samonte narrated how he, as an exchange student in the U.S., personally collected trash and sold them for cash which he sent to the Philippines to help support community programs — and how a civic organization matched his cash collections into a $ 25,000 grant. Rhoderick’s colleagues John, Richmond and Eric shared their personal experiences and plans into turning their school CHMSC into a waste-free college.

Jet Orbida, my husband, presented his innovations into turning his Organic Demo Farm into a zero-carbon footprint facility for small and marginal farmers — turning agricultural waste into organic fertilizers and recycling otherwise-residual waste into farm implements.

Dutch engineer Auke Idzenga and Filipino technician Roy of Aid Foundation, Inc. demonstrated their portable Plastic Shredder and Extruder which could turn residual plastic waste into a recycled product in a few minutes. All of us agreed that this machine could be an integral solution to residual waste in offices, residences and schools!

CONSCIOUSNESS AND POSITIVE CHANGE

By the end of the day, all of us professed that this Day of Learning became a valuable tool for our personal consciousness. Before we went our separate ways, we reiterated our promises to cause positive change within our communities. Five of the participants will continue with another get-together. Another five will visit Annabelle’s school and find ways to extend support to the school. A participant will replicate this Day of Learning in her hometown. All of us are eagerly awaiting Auke’s costing on his machines — for possible acquisition in our communities.

I know and I believe that the 13 of us are now strongly bonded by this Day of Learning — and that there will be more fruitful proactive collaborations in the next few months.