LOPEZ-LED Energy Development Corp. (EDC) has inked a deal with local social enterprise The Plastic Flamingo (PLAF) to collect plastic waste from the houses of the firm’s employees for recycling and upcycling, the company said on Thursday.

EDC signed the memorandum of agreement with PLAF in a virtual event that took place on Feb. 3. In a press release Thursday, EDC said that the partnership called “Plastic to Shelter” would help achieve its goal of becoming a zero-waste company.

Under the agreement, EDC would collect the plastic waste materials of its employees based in Manila and nearby areas once a month, and subsequently turn them over to PLAF, which would use the materials for recycling, upcycling and disposal.

“Part of PLAF’s program is segregating the collected plastics according to its classifications and then transforming them into Eco-Planks. The eco-planks are used in producing emergency shelter for populations hit by disaster,” EDC said in a statement.

EDC Corporate Support Functions Head and Assistant Vice President Regina Victoria J. Pascual said that the firm’s initiative in waste management was “nothing new” as it has been spearheading a number of programs in addressing the plastic waste situation, including information campaigns among its employees on how to properly dispose of waste, and encouraging employees to donate eco-bricks to its sister company First Balfour.

Eco-bricks, which are made of plastic bottles packed with used plastic materials, are known as reusable building blocks for construction.

“We knew that there’s always a way to do more, to have less waste, to have better environmental impact–which led to our desire to have zero waste in EDC. Our bigger hurdle came last year when we started working from home due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic and realized that all those food and grocery deliveries and items ordered online that came in layers of bubble wrap have resulted in accumulation of plastic waste in our employees’ respective houses,” Ms. Pascual said.

She added that EDC eventually found a partner in PLAF that could help manage its employees’ personal plastic waste while repurposing them into other products.

PLAF handles a pilot waste collection project in the country, with a collection network spanning Metro Manila and other areas.

According to a report released by the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment last year, the Philippines was identified as the world’s third-biggest polluter, generating 2.7 million metric tons of plastic wastes per year.

In December, House Deputy Speaker and Antique Rep. Loren B. Legarda said in a forum that plastic pollution in the country has aggravated flood levels in various parts of Luzon, following the onslaught of monsoons and typhoons that hit the country. — Angelica Y. Yang