Trash talk

Coke Zero is quite popular at our house. I call it black death, but I still drink it sometimes. We probably go through at least 2 1.5L bottles every week.

This and other bottled/canned drinks can add up to a lot of trash. That’s a huge impact on the Earth, so I decided to do something to lessen our household’s environmental footprint.

Step 1. Rinse out and dry all empty bottles.

Clean dry plastic bottles

Washing the bottles makes it more pleasant for the handlers down the line as it prevents the formation of mold and/or nasty smells. I’ve experienced the effects first-hand and, believe me, you’ll want them clean.

Plastic bottle recycling

Step 2. Use a cutter to remove all the labels. I used scissors initially. It was time-consuming, frustrating, and ineffective.

Laminates quaker oats

Cutter laminates recycling

The laminates can be collected and donated to the Titas of Manila for conversion into bricks.

Laminates recycling Plastikan sa Sunday

Eco bricks recycling Plastikan sa Sunday

Step 3. Flatten the bottles by squeezing the air out. I sit on my bed and step on the bottles.

Recycling

Recycling

Step 4. Bag up them babies and head for the junk shops to sell, sell, sell. They pay Php 6.00 per kilo for clear plastic bottles. As for shampoo, deodorant, and similar bottles (pictured below), they pay Php 15.00 per kilo. Broken plastic hangers and instant noodle cups also fall into this category.

It was my first visit to the junk shops so I made the mistake of combining the 2 types of bottles in 1 bag.

Recycling

This was today’s haul, the result of months of collecting bottles and other types of trash. My mother had to endure mountains of empty bottles stashed in the kitchen. But she’s a trooper. She’s actually the most active bottle collector/cleaner in the family.

Junk shop recycling plastic glass bottles

I made it a point to find out what else can be sold to the junk shops. These are the types of trash they take and the corresponding prices per kilogram:

  • Softdrink/beer cans – Php 30.00
  • Aluminum (harder than drink cans). I believe this is where canned good cans are categorized – Php 40.00
  • Bakal (the heavy steel stuff used in construction) – Php 8.00
  • Yero (the kind that fly off shanty roofs when the typhoons come) – Php 3.00

  • Carton/boxes – Php 3.00
  • White paper, including textbook covers (even if covered in plastic) – Php 6.00
  • Assorted/colored paper, including receipts and textbook pages – Php 1.00
  • Car batteries – “depende sa SM,” according to the lady I talked to. She didn’t know what SM was but said it probably had something to do with the battery’s power.
  • Glass bottles (they include the caps when weighing) – I just realized I don’t have the price for this.

They don’t accept wood, styrofoam, or broken clocks. Plastics are complicated. They take some and reject others. This the verdict for today’s contestants.

Generally, colored covers, yes; clear, hard containers, no.

The white clothes detergent bottle is okay, but the clear, hard cover is not.

It’s a “yes” for this plastic cup, the thin, flimsy kind that you get your taho and sa malamig in.

But a “no” for the remnants of my monthly company-provided meal. They’re all harder than the above cup.

The good news is that all the rejected plastic can be taken to Sto. Niño Parish in Pandacan on the last Sunday of every month (details here). That way, instead of clogging the sewers, landfills, and oceans, the plastics will be repurposed into something useful.

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