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BUILDING ECO-FRIENDLY, SUSTAINABLE PLAY AREAS

Mondelez Philippines creates playgrounds from recycled plastics

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By Jessica Pag-iwayan

Proper waste management and sustainable living are among today’s pressing issues. Not-for-profit organization for sustainability Global Footprint Network, in fact, reported that people have already used up more of the earth’s resources than it can produce for this year. That day, July 29, has been marked as Earth Overshoot Day (EOD) and it means that, for the rest of 2019, all energy that we will use is unsustainable.

In response to this urgent call for sustainability, companies and various organizations have started to do their part in lessening carbon footprint and in educating people about the importance of recycling.

With its sustainable snacking initiative, a program that focuses on creating resilient ingredient supply chains, reducing environmental impact, and developing zero-net waste packaging, Mondelez Philippines partners with First Balfour, Inc. and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP). Tapping different public schools, they taught children the importance of recycling plastic products and what other items could be produced from such a practice.

The kids also made eco-bricks from plastic bottles filled with all kinds of shredded plastics, weighing at least one kilogram each. By the end of March 2019, the combined efforts of public schools and private organizations resulted to 990 eco-bricks that Mondelez then used to build something that would bring smiles to children.

Apart from their sustainable snacking campaign, Mondelez also has its Joy Schools program. “There are three pillars in the Joy Schools program,” Ashish Pisharodi, Mondelez Philippines country director tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “One is nutrition as well as education, then encouraging access to fresh food and enabling it wherever you can, and the third one is active play.”

From the 990 eco-bricks, the company built a small playground composed of a mini-slide and a foundation podium, a product of Mondelez’ two sustainability programs. With a total area of three meters by five meters, these playgrounds are spaces where children can play and have fun during breaks and recess.

KIDS’ NOOK These recycled plastic play areas are made from ecobricks—plastic bottles stuffed with plastic packaging

“The play areas create alternative uses for packaging material, which would otherwise have been wasted. At the same time, it enables students to play more and be active,” Ashish says. “In this way we can reduce our environmental impact and ensure that the students and our community become part of the cause of recycling as well.”

He also explains that the size of the play area can be adjusted depending on the available space each school has. As of writing, Camp Claudio Elementary School in Parañaque and Holy Spirit Elementary in Quezon City are among the three schools adopted by Joy Schools program and have received a play area. By the end of August, Rogelio Gatchalian Elementary School in Parañaque will also have its own playground made of recycled plastic products.

“This project aims to encourage our adopted students and communities to contribute to post-consumer waste management,” Ashish adds.

When it comes to choosing a beneficiary school, the Department of Education (DepEd) plays a vital role. “The Department of Education is a valuable ally,” says Ashish. “They provide a lot of information both demographic and performance information and the performance level of the schools we should adopt.”

With DepEd’s recommendation, Mondelez applies its own criteria on choosing their beneficiaries.

“Typically we would like to choose schools where we find that the level of nutrition of a child is not met,” he adds. “We also look for schools where kids have high levels of absenteeism, and potentially even less than normal levels of growth, both physical and mental.”

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