The COVID-19 pandemic has waged a war not only on human health but also against the environment.
As people need to protect themselves from the virus, the world is seeing an estimated global use of 129 billion face masks and 65 billion gloves every month, according to a study published by the American Chemical Society.
Long after the pandemic is over, personal protective equipment, alongside tons of packaging, plastics, and other scraps that have accumulated over the years could remain in the world’s oceans.
In fact, a 2020 study by Washington, D.C.-based The Pew Charitable Trusts and London-based SYSTEMIQ estimates that plastic dumped into the ocean will reach 29 million metric tons by 2040, triple the 11 million metric tons seen in 2016.
Government and corporations alike have actively tried to address the problem of plastics and ocean waste. At Ayala Land, one solution that is gaining momentum is the process of recycling plastics into eco products.
To achieve this, Ayala Land has partnered with Green Antz Builders, a provider of environmentally friendly products for the construction industry. The partnership focuses on recycling plastics into eco products, which are made by shredding clean and dry plastic discards and mixing them with sand, cement, gravel, water, and an additive. From there, Green Antz can produce eco-bricks, eco pavers, and eco casts, among others.
Ayala Land’s pilot waste recycling facility, developed with Green Antz, is currently located in its 74-hectare mixed-use estate in Taguig — Arca South. A second facility was opened in the company’s Lio ecotourism estate in El Nido, Palawan in the fourth quarter of 2019. Plastic waste from across the company’s pilot properties and estates are brought to these facilities to be converted into eco products.
Advocating the concept of a circular economy wherein waste generated are converted to usable resources, the company then buys these eco products to be used for construction activities in its properties. Eco pavers are currently being used for the sidewalk improvement project at the Makati Central Business District (CBD).
Since their partnership, the two have diverted 55,000 kilos of plastic — equivalent to waste generated by 220,000 people in a day. They have also produced 173,000 pieces of eco products, enough to build 50 classrooms covering 60 square meters each.
“Plastics that would have otherwise ended up in the ocean will now become useful construction materials. Our strategy of capturing waste right at the source ensures they no longer contribute to ocean waste or add to the landfills, reducing the need for curative measures,” said Anna Maria Gonzales, Ayala Land Sustainability manager.
During the pandemic, Ayala Land has stepped up its efforts to spread awareness on how people can keep plastics from the landfill. People have started to segregate, clean and dry plastic waste generated from their homes, such as food containers, bubble wrappers, PET bottles, and plastic sachets, among others. These materials are being brought to drop-off points in Vertis North (QC), Salcedo Saturday Market (Makati) and Sunshine Mall (Taguig), which will then be delivered straight to the Arca South recycling facility.
People can further support Ayala Land’s zero-waste-to-landfill initiative by promoting segregation and the plastic drop-off venues to their families and friends. They can also buy the eco-products such as eco-bricks, which can be used as pavers for home gardens, or even for new walls for house renovations.
Educating the public on the importance of recycling plastics and other waste is crucial in the time of the pandemic, especially since studies indicate that 2020 is already on track to see 30 percent more waste than 2019.
Through its plastic waste processing facilities, Ayala Land hopes to show how everyone can do their part in achieving zero waste.
The initiative of Ayala Land and Green Antz enable the community to embrace a sustainable lifestyle. Clean and dry plastic waste can be brought to the Salcedo Market in Makati and other drop off points for recycling into eco-products.
Green Antz eco-bricks were used in the Makati CBD sidewalk enhancement project. The pavers are made with shredded plastics mixed with cement. These have an insulating effect, absorbing and emitting less heat thus enhancing the walking experience in the business district.
To learn more about Ayala Land’s sustainability projects, visit www.ayalaland.com.ph/sustainability.