Over the course of quarantine, other than cooking and baking at home, there was a surge in online shopping. This, unfortunately, meant more plastic waste because let’s face it, it may take years or decades before we fully switch to biodegradable or compostable alternatives.
While we slowly transition to sustainable packaging, here’s something we can do to make sure plastic bags from our online shopping sprees don’t end up in landfills: drop them off through this collection service.[READ: Online shopping platforms, we need to talk about excessive plastic packaging]
The Plastic Flamingo or The Plaf is a French social enterprise with a pilot project in the Philippines that started in August 2018. Through its collection network, it aims to upcycle and recycle post-consumer plastic waste before it reaches the ocean. (We know the ills our trash has caused so far.)
The Plaf collects discarded plastic through its network, which consists of 70 organizations like schools, universities, companies, stores, and municipalities.
It accepts cleaned and dried high-density polyethylene containers and bottles, low-density polyethylene plastic packaging materials, and polypropylene parts like caps to be upcycled to eco-planks, which in turn can be used to build emergency shelters. It also takes in other kinds of plastic waste for recycling at its partner centers. These include the plastic packaging and bubble wrap that comes with our shopping parcels. (Tip: Remove personal details attached to the package that includes your name, contact number, and address before sending out your plastic pile.)
Dropping off your collected plastic is as convenient as placing an order online. You can visit any of The Plaf’s multiple drop-off locations within Metro Manila or have a courier drop off your plastic pack for you. Alternatively, you can also opt to have The Plaf pick it up from your home for a fee of P300. Check this list to see if you are near a drop-off point.
According to its website, The Plaf has so far collected 41 tons of plastic and recycled 21 tons of it. Other than its voluntary plastic collection program, you can also sign up for a collection subscription that lets you send up to 6 kilograms of plastic every month and fund the employment of a worker of The Plaf. Subscriptions start at P500/month.