Plastic 3R Hacks?
Nowadays, the younger generation is actively doing its part to save the planet by championing advocacies to combat climate change and plastic waste, supporting sustainable brands and their causes, and promoting the importance of a more environmentally conscious lifestyle. With the help of technology, they are developing practical and effective solutions that haven’t been tried before to address pressing environmental problems.
Recently, young minds harnessed fresh and unique ideas to solve plastic pollution through a nationwide virtual hackathon called Plastic 3R Hacks PH, organized by Redwizard Events Technology in collaboration with the Healthy Oceans and Clean Cities Initiative.
More than 150 participants representing cities and universities across the country registered for the competition and underwent a series of virtual activities to develop their projects. After preliminary judging, ten teams were selected, advancing to the final stage in which they pitched their projects to a board of judges composed of industry experts and representatives from UN-Habitat Philippines and the Government of Japan.
In the end, Team STP from Manila was declared the winner for its project that combined urban farming, data science, and IoT to decrease household-generated waste and increase the recovery rate of plastic waste. The team received a cash prize of Php 50,000, which will help it to further develop its project.
With the vision that none of its packaging, including plastics, ends up in landfills and the environment, Nestlé Philippines fully supports initiatives like the Plastic 3R Hacks PH that drives awareness and discourse on the plastic waste crisis. During the program, Misha Rabat, Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs and Sustainability of Nestlé Philippines, shared the company’s initiatives to achieve its ambition of making 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025 while reducing virgin plastic consumption by 1/3.
“At our research centers in Switzerland and around Asia, we are looking at alternatives to plastics. In the Philippines, one of our recent milestones is the shift from plastic to paper straws for our ready-to-drink products We’re also reducing plastics in our operations and testing refilling stations to distributing our products.”
“One of the things we are doing to avoid our waste ending up in nature is sustaining plastic neutrality. This means we are recovering the equivalent amount of plastic that we put out in the market. Since August last year, we‘ve collected over 18,000 MT of plastic that is repurposed through our cement partners.”
Nestlé Philippines also supports infrastructure for the collection, sorting, and recycling of plastic waste, and has developed school modules, and guide materials for parents and teens on solid waste management endorsed by the National Solid Waste Management Commission.
I feel guilty each time a new package from an online selling platform arrives at my house because they’re always wrapped generously with bubble wrap and packaging tapes. But I can’t go about not shopping online because you know pandemic.
One of the major sources now of our plastic waste is the online shopping sites especially those who require plastic bubble wraps on the packages sent by their seller. I do hope these online selling platforms find a way to not make plastic wraps mandatory because not all things need plastic wrapped. There are cardboard boxes, recycled paper or shredded paper, honeycomb wraps, or even rags that can be used to secure a package.
Or if they can’t go about it they should at least have a buyback or a plastic waste collection or drop-off site where buyers can send back their plastic waste. They can also give incentives to their rider/delivery partners for returning used but clean plastic wraps/bubble wraps. This way we don’t add more plastic pollution to our planet who is working double-time to survive.