How can we effectively segregate, reduce and divert waste away from landfills while creating economic benefits for Silangueños in the process?
A first class municipality in Cavite, Silang is a town of great potential and has a population of 248,085 (as of 2015 census). However, with the increasing population of the municipality and its projected economic activities, the local government of Silang expects rising solid waste generation. Moreover, with the most recent problem with the COVID-19 pandemic, the problem of waste has only gotten worse—i.e. more food waste or scraps, increased plastic waste due to increased demand for plastic-packaged food, use of disposable utensils, and also waste generated from personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves, face masks and gowns.
Silang produces, on average, waste of (113-120 tons per day) or 826 to 840 tons per week - that means annual waste of 43,070-43,800 tons per year. 96.80% of waste comes from residential sources, 3.05% from commercial, 0.08% from institutions, and 0.06% from industries. As local citizens, we must be concerned with waste accumulation and the high costs associated with it. It has been found that people are not adequately informed about proper waste segregation. This results in an increase in the amount of municipal waste and a decrease in the quantity of resources recovered which can serve as additional raw material or repurposed into new products. This problem accounts for one of the reasons for the high cost of waste disposal. In Silang, for example, the average amount of municipal waste is 43,435 tons per year, while the amount of recyclable and biodegradable waste collected and processed is 9,330 tons, and 25,635 tons per year, respectively. Even after waste diversion, Silang generates 188 tons of special wastes per year, and an average of 8,282 tons of residual waste per year subjected to disposal. Given the figures, this means that every household or business needs to reduce the amount of residual, unsegregated waste that they hand over for garbage collection by the public service provider.
Silang envisions a “Progressive and dynamic town inhabited by empowered and healthy citizenry living in harmony with the environment.” How can we help achieve this by tackling the challenge we face on solid waste? Existing initiatives in Silang turn waste into useful things. For example, biodegradable waste is turned into soil conditioners, and shredded plastic into ecobricks. But success cannot be achieved if waste is improperly handled at its source - households. How can we inculcate good values and discipline in every household, every local citizen in terms of proper waste management? How can we effectively reduce and divert the amount of waste generated in Silang through waste segregation practices, while turning waste into a huge benefit?
We want Silangueños to gain a feeling of ownership of our solid waste problem. What new and concrete ideas for waste segregation, reduction and diversion will create economic benefits for Silangueños in the process?
We seek solutions that:
- Invoke the spirit of bayanihan among families, businesses and government, so that everyone works together
- Work towards the greatest impact that best use existing resources
- Drive behavioural changes through education and communication campaigns
- Build business and market development for designated and potentially recyclable materials
- Include an aspect of reward system or of creating paid jobs, whether through existing or new organizations (e.g informal clubs, initiatives, eventual new organizations or businesses)
Solutions can be in the form of a campaign, a network, a policy, an app or a product.