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 a 2020 study by Washington, D.C.-based The Pew Charitable Trusts and London-based SYSTEMIQ, it was estimated that plastic dumped into the ocean will reach 29 million metric tons by 2040, triple the 11 million metric tons seen in 2016. Turning plastics into eco products Government and corporations alike have actively tried to address the problem of plastics and ocean waste. At Ayala Land, one solution involves recycling plastics into eco products. The property developer recently partnered with Green Antz Builders, a provider of environment friendly products used for the construction industry. The partnership focuses on shredding clean and dry plastic discards and mixing them with sand, cement, gravel, water and an additive. From there, Green Antz produces 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 called 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.
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% more waste than 2019.