Where To Donate Your Paper And Plastic Waste For Recycling And Reuse
Breathe second life into your old paper bags and plastic waste through these organizations that strive to uphold recycling
The Earth is changing and the environment is suffering. We are living in an era where climate change has really started to affect our lives—droughts and heat waves, sea levels rising, destruction of coral reefs and marine biodiversity, storm surges, and so much more. It’s high time we start becoming more mindful of the things we do and consume, and how it directly affects our planet.
This is why many organizations have started mounting initiatives to help lessen the paper and plastic waste that we produce. It’s helpful, of course, to be more mindful about the things we use and do. It’s best to reduce single-use materials and packaging in our day-to-day activities, and start patronizing eco-friendly and sustainable projects and materials. But since we’re at a point where it’s impossible to eliminate single use packaging in our lives—eg. the packaging the things and food we buy come with—maybe it’ll help the environment if we at least turn them into something useful instead of disposing them immediately.
Here are some places and organizations who can recycle plastic and paper and can accept your waste donations:
The Plastic Solution
Single-use plastics are everywhere—they’re in our food containers, wrappers of our online orders, product packaging, and more. And some of these we can’t really remove from our day-to-day lives anymore. So if we can’t totally eliminate plastic bottles and plastic containers from our everyday life, might as well do something useful with them!
The Plastic Solution is a Manila-based volunteer-run environmental movement, spearheaded by The Circle Hostel, that promotes the creation of ecobricks, which are PET bottles stuffed with dry plastics that can be used for modular furniture or even full-scale buildings.
Ecobricks are born from the fact that plastics don’t biodegrade; they photodegrade. This means that plastic left outside on land or on water will slowly break down and be absorbed by the plants and animals we eat. But PET bottles can last for 300 to 500 years if they are kept from the sunlight—that’s why the idea of making ecobricks came to be.
Making an ecobrick
Making an ecobrick is a nice lifestyle change for yourself or your circle of influence. All you need to do is stuff a plastic bottle with non-biodegradable plastic so it’s dense and filled without air pockets. Any kind of plastic wrappers, foams, packaging, and cellophane can be stuffed inside the bottle, and take note to not include any kind of metal, glass, paper, or biodegradable stuff. This means that all your plastic should be rinsed clean and dry. Use a bamboo or wood stick to press the plastic down and stuff more inside your bottle.
It’s recommended to cut up big and hard plastics so they can fill the entirety of the bottle. You should also weigh your ecobrick after to make sure it’s dense enough to be usable for construction. A good rule of thumb is 0.33 g/ml, which means a 600ml bottle should have a minimum weight of 200g.
Where to bring your ecobrick
The Plastic Solution has partnered up with volunteer individuals and organizations to act as drop-off points for ecobricks. You can bring ecobricks directly to The Plastic Solution headquarters in Quezon City or at any of The Circle Hostel locations in La Union, Zambales, or Baler. But there are also drop-off points all over the country—you can check out their complete list of drop-off points on their post below.
Or better yet, become a drop-off partner yourself! By being a drop-off partner, people can go to you to drop their eco-bricks and you can transport them straight to The Plastic Solution office or at The Circle Hostel.
Winder Recycling Company
If you can’t have the patience or time to create ecobricks, a recycling company is also open to receiving plastic donations of all kind—sando bags, plastic bottles, food packaging, and more.
Engineer Winchester Lemen and his company, Winder Recycling Company, started their recycling business in 2001, which is centered around a technology that is able to transform plastic trash into chairs, benches, and tables. He started the company with the idea of reducing plastic waste in the country while addressing the lack of school chairs and tables in rural schools. Today, they have expanded to lounge chairs and benches that would be great indoor and outdoor.
According to the Winder Recycling Company, each school chair is made up of 300 kg of plastic, which is roughly 300 PET bottles or 2,181 sando bags. So instead of cutting down a tree to create the chair, the company’s technology can save tons of plastic that will go to landfills and waterways instead. In fact, they are very confident in the furniture that they build from the plastics they’ve collected that they have a 20-year warranty for all their products.
The company started its operations in Sasa, near the port of Davao. But due to demand, they have expanded their operations to Luzon and Visayas, as well.
Currently, their biggest drop-off point is at the Envirotech Winder Recycling factory in Davao. But they also have drop-offs in Zambales, Nueva Ecija, and Surigao. Please make sure that all your plastic donations are clean and dry.
For more information on where to drop off your plastic, send them a message on Facebook at Winder Recycling Company or contact them at 0917-324-1118.
If you have other plastic waste to donate like tetrapacks and styro foam, there’s a ministry group here in Manila who have been organizing a plastic drive since 2014. Inspired by the Ecologic Waste Management Act of the Philippines, The Pandacan Ecology Ministry started initiating plastic waste collection and recycling in various barangays in the metro.
The group is composed of volunteers who receive and sort plastic every fourth Saturday of the month by the basketball court at the back of Liwasang Balagtas, Laura St. corner Beata St. Pandacan, Manila.
They accept sando bags, plastic wrappers and packaging, laminates, styrofoam, used tetra packs, and used plastic cups. The collected plastic waste are then picked up by an industry partner who melts the plastics and turns them into construction pavers and bricks.
Apart from plastic and waste donations, the Pandacan Ecology Ministry is also accepting volunteers who’d like to help in the collection and sorting of the plastic waste. If interested, their full list of plastic drive dates for the year and who to contact are located here at their iVolunteer page.
We’ve always assumed that we can only recycle plastic and reusable containers. But did you know that you can also breathe a second life into those brown paper bags that everyone is using in place of single-use plastic? While paper decomposes much faster than plastic, a lot of paper bags end up in crowded landfills that don’t have the necessary light, air, and oxygen supply for the bags to decompose properly.
So the next time you’re given a brown paper back for your purchase, might as well keep them because Silent Beads is accepting brown paper bag donations. Silent Beads started out as a passion-driven business creating fashionable accessories and jewelry that help deaf-mute communities. Recently, the organization has evolved into promoting the welfare of the planet, as well, giving birth to plantable beads and seed paper. These seed papers are made from recycled brown paper embedded with seeds that can be planted directly.
In fact, if you donate at least 20 pcs. of medium to large-sized brown paper bags, you get one seed paper of your choice. Some of their most popular seed papers produce different herbs and flowers like mustard, basil, parsley, spinach, and dill.
Apart from seed papers, they also recycle the brown paper bags to create eco-friendly invites and seed paper envelopes. Both are embedded with spinach seeds so the recipient can plant the envelope and the invite after receiving it. This way, your brown paper bags have a second life and you’re also saving trees from being cut down to produce your paper invites.
How to donate your paper bags
Make sure that the brown paper bags that you’re donating are dry and free from any spillage. The paper bags should also not have any staple wires, tapes, or plastic layers. Fold the paper bags and do not crumple them for easier transport and storage. They accept brown paper bags with printed logos and those that have been cut up to pieces, as well.
Check out their full list of drop-off points below:
Despite the decline of print and stationary, Papemelroti has been able to survive throughout the years. And we believe this is because the brand makes sure that they are still able to help the environment through their sustainable business processes and systems. One of such practices is the Papemelroti Planet Patrol (PPP) which started back in 1990. The PPP is a club that “promotes awareness on different environment protection issues like waste disposal, recycling, endangered animals, power and water conservation and others.”
Papemelroti is known for their unbleached, brown kraft papers—and that’s not just a branding or aesthetic choice. This is because these papers don’t contain harmful chemicals that permeate into the environment, unlike that of bleached white papers. Their paper products are also made from recycled paper, which saves a lot of trees that would otherwise be cut and used to make the paper products.
This is why up to now, Papemelroti accepts donation items which they can reuse and recycle for their products. Currently, they’re accepting old eyeglass lenses, scrabble tiles, domino tiles, computer keyboard, clean plastic bags, hardbound books, telephone directory, playing cards, and bubble wrap. Yup, those bubble wraps that all your online orders come with, now you have somewhere to donate them.
You can drop off these items at any Papemelroti store near you!