Before the Enhanced Community Quarantine was implemented, Balumbato Elementary School in Quezon City welcomed a new play area for its students. This is no ordinary play area, however. It is a structure that has been formed using recycled plastic.
The issue of plastic waste has been in discussion for quite some time. It is true that any waste – regardless if plastic or not, when improperly disposed does pose a problem for the environment. It’s also true that while plastic use can be reduced, it continues to be a highly efficient material that provides the right levels of security, quality, and product protection for food products. This recently constructed play area shows that when properly disposed and recycled, plastic waste has a further purpose and can be given new life.
What’s more, the play area was built in partnership with Robinsons Supermarket. In the latter part of 2019, Mondelez Philippines partnered with Robinsons Easymart for a social marketing campaign. For every purchase of selected Mondelez Philippines snack products, a portion went to the construction of the play area. Says Robinsons Supermarket’s Daisy Lyn Go-Sy, Merchandising Director-Food 2 & 3, “Robinsons Supermarket is pleased to partner with Mondelez Philippines in reaching out to communities by way of this play area, which the children of Balumbato Elementary School can fully enjoy once they are able to go back to school.
We hope that they will help create many beautiful moments of friendship, laughter and physical activity for them. This project is also in keeping with our partner’s mission to give joy through snack products and ours of health and wellness.”
Mindful Snacking and Sustainable Snacking
The Joy Schools is Mondelez Philippines’ flagship community program which started in 2011, focused on helping improve the nutrition of students through a 9-month feeding program. The program is one way Mondelez Philippines stays true to its purpose of empowering people to snack right, with the right snack, for the right moment, and made the right way. For the past 9 years the Joy Schools program has been helping improve the nutrition of adopted students through a daily lunch feeding program. This, as Mondelez Philippines calls it, is their contribution to promoting Mindful Snacking –which translates to working with communities to promote nutrition education, access to fresh food and active play.
Their purpose of ‘snacking made right’ also includes encouraging Sustainable Snacking. “Sustainable Snacking for us means creating a future where people and planet thrive by creating resilient ingredient supply chains, reducing our environmental impact, and developing zero-net waste packaging,” shares Toff Rada, CGA Country Manager of Mondelez Philippines. “With this dual purpose of Mindful and Sustainable Snacking, we decided to expand our Joy Schools program with the recycled play areas project. In this way we are able to contribute to students’ knowledge and practice on nutrition and encourage them to be part of protecting our environment.”
Recycled Play Area at 4th Joy Schools
Launched in August 2019, the Recycled Play Areas are slides, benches and sheds which have been built using ecobricks. These are plastic bottles stuffed full of used and shredded plastic bags or packaging. In the schools where they have been built, students have been encouraged to make their own ecobricks, and see their contributions serve a purpose with the recycled play areas. Employees of Mondelez Philippines also contributed to the collection of ecobricks, with the four play areas able to recycle some 990 kilos of plastic. The three other schools are located in Paranaque City and another in Quezon City.
Moving forward, the Company aims to contribute more towards recycling plastic. At a time when most people stay at home, and conscious consumption is most prevalent, the idea of making ecobricks – or something new out of old materials – seems as fitting as ever. While everyone’s at home, it’s also a great time to segregate waste so that recyclers will be able to utilize reusable packaging rather than having them end up in landfills. Did you know that plastic that’s been contaminated with food and dirt cannot be recycled anymore? That’s why it’s important to segregate.
“Reducing the environmental impact of our packaging and tackling plastic waste are urgent priorities for us,” adds Rada. “Globally we have committed to make all our packaging recyclable and provide recycling information for consumers by 2025. Locally we have also signed a pledge, aiming that by 2030 we will have achieved zero net waste as a community, where plastic does not end up in nature. But this is not something we can do alone. We would like to encourage everyone to take this time to recycle, repurpose and segregate their waste. We should all come together for this particular issue, which is also important for our world.”
While the recycled plastic play area awaits the return of children, it stands as inspiration for the many wonderful things that can happen if groups work together to recycle and manage waste.