Recycling line turns plastic sachets into eco-boards

 Recycling line turns plastic sachets into eco-boards
The Plastic Flamingo’s eco-boards are made from upcycled single-use sachets.

By Brontë H. Lacsamana, Reporter

The Plastic Flamingo (The Plaf) — a social enterprise that collects plastics from companies, restaurants, and junk shops and turns them into eco-boards — launched on Friday a new recycling line that upcycles single-use sachets into plywood-like panels called eco-boards.  

“The new recycling line translates into value for waste pickers to collect the plastic wrappers to be recycled at our factory in Muntinlupa. We shall also involve our network of collection points and volunteers in collecting plastic sachets along with other recyclable plastics,” said François Lesage, chief executive officer of The Plaf. 

The technology will help mitigate the worsening levels of marine plastic pollution in a country that, according to the World Bank, consumes around 163 million sachets each day.

“What was considered hard-to-recycle plastic can now be turned into panels the exact dimensions of plywood, used to build shelters,” Mr. Lesage said at the launch.

He added that the recycling line is the first of its kind in the Philippines and can set an example for incentivizing plastic collection. 

The Plaf chief operating officer Erica Reyes shared with BusinessWorld that their extrusion machine is able to heat and pressurize these plastics into blocks, eco-boards, chairs, coasters, and other materials. These are sold directly to companies. 

They are now looking into rolling out more products to “stimulate a market for recycled plastic products and enhance the circular plastic economy.” 

THE PLASTIC PROBLEM
Shipping logistics firm CMA CGM, which is funding the machinery and the employment of 12 factory staff, is partnering with The Plaf to curb the entry of 120 tons of plastic into the ocean. As of September 2021, 75 tons have been collected in Metro Manila. 

Because the Philippines is one of the biggest plastic polluters in the world, initiatives aside from The Plaf have emerged to address the problem. 

Yeya Berjaoui, general manager of CMA CGM Philippines, emphasized the importance of everyone working together to protect the environment. 

“This June, we shall stop transporting plastic waste to curb their flows to destinations where sorting and recycling are not guaranteed,” he said.

On a global scale, resolutions to end plastic pollution via a legally binding instrument have been adopted, during the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, that took place on March 2. 

In the meantime, the Philippines must work on its own roadmap for reducing plastic waste, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), which urged the national and local governments to align with the plastic ban. 

House Bill No. 9147 or the Single-Use Plastic Products Regulation Act that the House of Representatives approved last year should stop the production of single-use plastics. The Senate counterpart measure is currently pending.