Mondelez Philippines embarked on a program to reduce the impact of its plastic packaging on the environment.
It teamed up with the Plastic Flamingo, a social enterprise, to turn over outdoor furniture made from recycled plastics to the Parañaque City government. The recycled items show proof of recyclability of plastics, and how supporting the circular economy for this material can benefit the environment and livelihood.
The problem of plastic waste ending up as marine litter is a complex one and poses a threat to the environment. The Philippine Alliance for Recycling and Materials Sustainability, along with its members like Mondelez Philippines, committed to supporting efforts to manage plastic and packaging waste and reduce the country’s waste footprint.
“We recognize the responsibility that each one of us has in ensuring plastic waste does not end up in nature,” said Mondelez Philippines corporate and government affairs country manager Joseph Fabul.
According to the 2021 Zero Waste to Nature roadmap by PARMS, reducing marine litter will involve three major steps—design for circularity, support waste recovery processes and facilitate investment into diversion pathways.
This means reducing packaging use and re-designing it for greater recyclability, making manufacturers part of the waste recovery process and supporting government capabilities and strengthening the recycling industry for plastics as well as other materials. It supports the circular economy of plastics, where plastic is viewed as a valuable material like wood and glass and can be reused continuously.
Mondelez Philippines joined PARMS in implementing the roadmap and signed the industry pledge to ensure that by 2030, the company can collect and divert the same amount of plastics that it uses for its products.
The company also abides by its global commitments to reduce the amount of packaging they use, to make 100 percent of its packaging recycle ready and labeled with recycling information and to reduce virgin plastic use in rigid plastic packaging by 25 percent or a 5-percent reduction in virgin plastic in its overall packaging.
“We all have a role. For consumers, it can be deciding to buy in bulk rather than small pieces if they can afford it, and make sure to dispose of their waste properly. For companies like ours, it means being mindful of our packaging use and supporting the collection of what we put out in the market,” said Fabul.
“In 2019, we started our journey to learn how we can support waste collection, launching a project to collect just 1,000 kilos of plastic waste with the Plastic Flamingo the following year. By 2021, we have expanded this to 42,000 kilos, and have turned a part of this collected waste into recycled furniture for the use of our home city of Parañaque,” said Fabul.
The project earned funding through the global Sustainable Futures platform of MondelÄ“z International. Sustainable Futures aims to incubate, finance and build partnerships in the impact investment space through co-funded climate projects and a new social venture fund.
Working with other organizations in 2021, Mondelez Philippines collected and diverted 172,489 kilos of plastic wastes. The amount is equivalent to the weight of as many as 86 automobiles.
For 2022, the company aims to collect more, in line with its 2030 commitment with PARMS on recovery. Additionally, Mondelez Philippines’ parent company is on a mission to ensure 100-percent zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The recycled furniture turned over to Parañaque City includes a picnic bench, bike rack, waste cube, bench and dining set. The Plastic Flamingo collects plastic waste from communities and processes them into eco lumber, shaped similarly to wood that’s used for construction, while providing livelihood for its collectors and processors. The lumber is used to build the furniture, as well as other structures.
Consumers are also encouraged to buy the recycled items from the enterprise, from which funds collected will be reverted back to funding more plastic collection. The recycling model highlights the value that plastic has, how it can be continuously reused and does not have to end up as waste.