In the Philippines, households contribute a significant amount of plastic waste, among which single-use plastic in the form of disposable packaging often come up top. Soft plastics and styrofoam, in particular, are notoriously difficult and costly for recycling. More often than not, these end up being burnt, dumped in our landfills or worse, in our waterways and oceans.
Nakamoto’s Team collecting householdswaste using motorcycles into more secluded area. Photo: WWF-PhilippinesNow piloted in six barangays, NAKAMOTO plays a critical role in community-based waste management by helping to segregate household waste in Donsol and increase collection capacity in a Material Recovery Facility. Beyond collection, the NAKAMOTO waste collectors also help to educate households on how to segregate their waste. Biodegradables are brought to the municipal composting areas, recyclables are sold to partner junk shops, while residual waste such as soft plastics are handed over to organizations like KALIPI Donsol who can use it for their craftwork.
Waste Collection Activities at NAKAMOTO. Photo: WWF-Philippines
These community-centric and socially-minded enterprises are key partners in supporting Donsol’s Plastic Smart Cities commitment to reduce 30 percent plastic leakage in nature, thereby contributing to the municipality’s 10-year solid waste management plan. Part of the Sorsogon province, Donsol is well known as a nature-based tourism hotspot, especially for whale shark watching. Its coasts border the Ticao-Burias Pass Protected Seascape (TBPPS), an area rich with marine biodiversity and home to numerous endangered species.
One of the attractions in Donsol is whale shark tourism.
Having worked with the local government since 1998 on managing Donsol’s marine biodiversity and whale shark tourism, WWF-Philippines now supports the municipality through the Plastic Smart Cities -- by organizing clean-up operations and technical trainings with local partners to improve the quality of their work, while also forging connections between groups in the federation and helping them find a market for their products.
“WWF (fulfilled) almost 85 percent of our organisational needs,” remembers Arevalo. “They provided start-up capital for our business, trainings and seminars, equipment and machines that helped the development of our business. With this help, we were able to realize our objective and reduce plastic waste in nature.”
KALIPI Donsol is now upscaling their operations to include a storage facility and provide benefits for their members. Arevalo and her colleagues intend to expand their operations and eventually export to a bigger market.
Arevalo believes that repurposing plastic is one of the best ways to tackle the problem – using financial incentives to make a positive out of a negative. Her group wants to be part of the effort in turning the tide on plastics in Donsol. “This is not only for myself,” she explains. “It is for my members, for my community, for the next generation.”
Four local government units (LGUs) in the Davao Region and the town of Donsol in Sorsogon province renewed their commitment to end plastic pollution by 2030 by signing again with the Plastic Smart Cities.
There is no silver bullet for the global plastic crisis – tackling this problem will require commitment, innovation and collaboration across various levels of government, business and communities. As part of WWF’s No Plastic in Nature Initiative, Plastic Smart Cities is working alongside cities to scale on-ground solutions for better waste management and advancing the circular economy.
WWF’s efforts in working with KALIPI and NAKAMOTO is supported by its partnership with Nestle Philippines.