More than a hundred garbage workers, volunteers and sorters met with General Services Office (GSO) assistant department head Ma. Guadalupe Della, for the “Sorters Support Program Launch” last Friday afternoon, October 6 at the GSO, New Lucban office.
They were joined by Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda as committee chair on Health, Sanitation, Ecology and Environmental Concerns; Zero Waste advocates Becky Tenefrancia and Ofelia Giron; Tetra-Pak Sustainability Manager Catherine Chua, and private partner Shiella Gomez.
The event launched the sorting and eventual collection of clean carton boxes at the city’s transfer station, at Marcos Highway, and at a junk shop nearby; for recycling.
Displayed at the GSO hall were a specially designed small bookcase and chair set, stationery, chess set, decorative boxes and quaint small bricks in play form, all from recycled paper carton packaging.
Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda who delivered the opening message focused on having funds for livelihood, education, child and elderly care, instead of paying more than P300M annually for the hauling of garbage to an engineered sanitary landfill in the lowlands.
Proper segregation of garbage should be done for organics, residual, recyclable and even electronic wastes which could be brought to the Bakakeng e-waste facility, the lady councilor said.
Segregation of carton packaging will bring in more income to the volunteers and sorters, Tabanda added, as Chua assured the buy-back scheme for used cartons.
Cartons are composed of 70% paper, layers of plastic and aluminum; and used as packaging for juice and food. The multiple layers however are not easily recyclable, thus the need for special recycling procedures which Tetra-Pak company is willing to provide, as part of Republic Act (RA) 11898 or the Extended Producer Responsibility on Plastic Packaging Waste.
Also, during the meeting, the garbage volunteers voiced out their concerns on garbage: the need for segregation at source even in the city public market, scheduling problems in almost all barangays, unscheduled mounting garbage specially at passageways from the La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba and Tublay (LISTT) areas, heavy garbage as these are construction materials, soil and sand for disposal, mixed wastes which include human and dog waste, broken glasses, and medical wastes. Garden waste should be composted at source or in the barangay concerned, the garbage workers said.
Councilor Tabanda and the eco-waste advocates hailed the garbage workers as heroes in the community. She urged them to care for their health, assuring them of medical outreach and haircut services to be done on schedule.
Rainboots and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) were distributed to the volunteers through Tetra Pak company, after the meeting. By JGF