Students get a new play area from recycled wastes

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By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios

While waste management has been a big challenge in the urban parts of the Philippines particularly in Metro Manila and key provincial cities, the unabated tons of garbage have put the country as the third-largest contributor to ocean pollution that jeopardizes marine lives and water bodies and flooding during the rainy season.

There are studies conducted by both the Asian Development Bank and Japan Science and Technology Agency that are very close in terms of data that there are close to 50,000 tons of garbage daily and this included close to 5,000 tons of plastic waste. Many pointed out that the lifestyle, packaging, and even the lack of discipline contributed to this alarming waste management and environmental problem.

The Recycled Play Areas

A newly built play area using recycled, plastic waste to give purpose and new life for the benefit of the students

Before the Enhanced Community Quarantine was implemented, a school in Quezon City, Balumbato Elementary School was welcomed with a new play area for its students. But this is not an ordinary play area because of the structure that has been formed using recycled plastic.

Knowing that the issue of plastic waste has been a hot topic of discussion with regard to environmental issues. But regardless of the kind of waste, plastic or not, when not disposed of properly, it is bound to create a serious problem for the environment. It’s also true that while plastic use can be reduced, it continues to be a highly efficient material that provides the right levels of security, quality, and product protection for food products. This recently constructed play area shows that when properly disposed and recycled, plastic waste has a further purpose and can be given new life.

Thanks to the team-up of Mondelez Philippines and Robinsons Easymart in their social marketing campaign dubbed as “The Recycled Play Areas”.

As background, in the latter part of 2019, Mondelez Philippines partnered with Robinsons Easymart for a social marketing campaign. For every purchase of selected Mondelez Philippines snack products, a portion went to the construction of the play area.

According to Robinsons Supermarket’s Daisy Lyn Go-Sy, Merchandising Director-Food 2 & 3, “Robinsons Supermarket is pleased to partner with Mondelez Philippines in reaching out to communities by way of this play area, which the children of Balumbato Elementary School can fully enjoy once they are able to go back to school. We hope that they will help create many beautiful moments of friendship, laughter, and physical activity for them. This project is also in keeping with our partner’s mission to give joy through snack products and ours of health and wellness.

All of the slides, benches, and sheds have been built using eco-bricks. These are plastic bottles stuffed full of used and shredded plastic bags or packaging. In the schools where they have been built, students have been encouraged to make their own eco-bricks, and see their contributions serve a purpose with the recycled play areas. Employees of Mondelez Philippines also contributed to the collection of eco-bricks, with the four play areas able to recycle some 990 kilos of plastic.

While the recycled plastic play area awaits the return of children, it stands as an inspiration for the many wonderful things that can happen if groups work together to recycle and manage waste. Moving forward, the company aims to contribute more to recycling plastic.

Mindful Snacking and Sustainable Snacking

Meanwhile, the Joy Schools is Mondelez Philippines’ flagship community program which started in 2011, focused on helping improve the nutrition of students through a 9-month feeding program. The program is one-way Mondelez Philippines stays true to its purpose of empowering people to snack right, with the right snack, for the right moment, and made the right way. For the past 9 years, the Joy Schools program has been helping improve the nutrition of adopted students through a daily lunch feeding program. This, as Mondelez Philippines calls it, is their contribution to promoting Mindful Snacking –which translates to working with communities to promote nutrition education, access to fresh food, and active play.

Their purpose of ‘snacking made right’ also includes encouraging Sustainable Snacking. “Sustainable Snacking for us means creating a future where people and planet thrive by creating resilient ingredient supply chains, reducing our environmental impact, and developing zero-net waste packaging,” shares Toff Rada, CGA Country Manager of Mondelez Philippines.

“With this dual purpose of Mindful and Sustainable Snacking, we decided to expand our Joy Schools program with the recycled play areas project. In this way, we are able to contribute to students’ knowledge and practice on nutrition and encourage them to be part of protecting our environment.”

4th Joy Schools Recycled Play Area

Launched in August 2019, the Recycled Play Areas are slides, benches, and sheds which have been built using eco-bricks. These are plastic bottles stuffed full of used and shredded plastic bags or packaging. In the schools where they have been built, students have been encouraged to make their own eco-bricks, and see their contributions serve a purpose with the recycled play areas. Employees of Mondelez Philippines also contributed to the collection of eco-bricks, with the four play areas able to recycle some 990 kilos of plastic. 

“Reducing the environmental impact of our packaging and tackling plastic waste are urgent priorities for us,” adds Rada.

“Globally we have committed to make all our packaging recyclable and provide recycling information for consumers by 2025. Locally we have also signed a pledge, aiming that by 2030 we will have achieved zero net waste as a community, where plastic does not end up in nature. But this is not something we can do alone. We would like to encourage everyone to take this time to recycle, repurpose and segregate their waste. We should all come together for this particular issue, which is also important for our world.”

While the recycled plastic play area awaits the return of children, it stands as an inspiration for the many wonderful things that can happen if groups work together to recycle and manage waste.

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