Palit-Basura turns plastic wastes into food packs

SAN NICOLAS, Ilocos Norte, May 31 (PIA) – The municipal government of this town, through the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO), has initiated an environmental effort to address the increasing plastic trash amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

This environmental program is called “Palit-Basura” which encourages the local residents here to exchange their plastic wrappers to food packs.
This includes empty wrappers of powdered juice, milk, coffee, creamer, instant noodles, and other plastic wastes.

In exchange, they will receive food packs containing canned goods, instant noodles, and coffee.

In the municipal government’s official Facebook page, it explained that “only clean plastic wastes are acceptable for the exchange. These wastes must be classified as foil and non-foil to further recover recyclable waste materials. Then, these are to be submitted to the MENRO for issuance of a claim stub and release of a food pack.”

In compliance with the mandatory health standards, schedules of barangays for the program are clustered to strictly observe physical distancing.

Mayor Alfredo Valdez Jr. said there’s a need to maintain solid waste management as residual wastes have become a major concern since community quarantine.

“Kasi itong pagdating ng COVID-19 pandemic, may mga ayudang binibigay sa mga tao — food packs and all these things. So I called the attention of our MENRO and said, mukhang masyadong dadami ang basura natin dito. Then for another thing, we’ve been managing our solid wastes properly and efficiently, sayang naman kung because of the COVID-19 pandemic eh titigil na tayo,” Valdez said.

Moreover, he said this program as a great avenue to strengthen the municipality’s solid waste management program and educate the people on the importance of proper waste segregation by turning their junk to goodies.

“We encourage the people to collect their plastic food wrappers.

agkatapos, iipunin nila syempre iyon para mapakinabangan. Not only will we be able to serve our people, but also they will learn to appreciate the value of their garbage,” the mayor added.

While face-to-face school learning is not yet encouraged for the kids, Valdez further stated that the Palit-Basura program will also help the youth to practice proper waste collection and segregation at home.

“Ang sabi ko, magandang pagawa ‘to sa mga bata and the youth lalo na walang pasok sa eskwela. I think this is one form of eye-opener for them para ma-appreciate nila na, oo nga, may pakinabang pala sa basura,” he stressed.

On the other hand, Marilyn Tolentino, MENRO chief, explained that the collected wastes will be converted into useful items while some are up for recycling.

“Yung makukuhang mga plastic na may foil ay mapupunta sa aming shredding facility habang ang iba ay mare-recycle. Ang mga shredded materials ay gagawing mga unan, bayong, bags, at iba pang useful items na maaaring ibenta at pagkakitaan,” Tolentino shared.

San Nicolas is dubbed as a heritage town and an environment champion for its notable awards in terms of solid waste management and environmental management. (Ma. Joreina Therese A. Blanco/PIA Ilocos Norte)