MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Young surfers of The Circle Hostel believe the Philippines’ annual 1.88 million tons worth of plastic waste in the oceans was reason enough to do something for the environment.
“We were encountering plastic debris in the ocean, in our surf, and we wanted to do something about it, something that was not only low-tech but also community-driven,” said Fiona Faulkner, The Circle Hostel environmental officer.
With this in mind, they started ‘The Plastic Solution,’ an environmental movement which aims to raise awareness of the negative effects of plastic waste consumption and reduce plastics by promoting a zero-plastic lifestyle among community members and repurposing non-biodegradable materials through eco-bricking.
The foundation of the project is eco-bricking, the process of stuffing PET bottles with non-biodegradable waste such as shampoo sachets, plastic straws, snack wrappers, and other single-use plastics. The ecobricks are then used as simple alternative fillers in constructing walls, fences, benches, low-cost community structures, and more.
The Circle Hostel project shares the vision of a ‘World Without Waste’ of The Coca-Cola Company with the goal of collecting and recycling one bottle for each that it sells globally by 2030.
The Plastic Solution starts by teaching volunteer partners the basics of ecobricking then they provide outlets for ecobricks and accept ecobricks from volunteers through their collection partners. The organization has successfully constructed different low-cost builds with ecobricks, including outdoor showers, walls and perimeter fences for their hostels, and an ecobrick base used for a reforestation nursery, in partnership with the Aeta community of Yangil, Zambales.
The Circle Hostel is among the winners of the 15th Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) Awards and is the recipient of the special Coke Barkada Award.
Jonah De Lumen-Pernia, Coca-Cola Philippines Public Affairs and Communications director said, “The Coke Barkada is an award that we’ve been giving for the past 12 years to the group that best demonstrates the Coke Barkada spirit of collective volunteerism, working together for the community and living the value of positive action for change. The awardee for today is also fitting very well with our commitment as a company to a world without waste.”
Aside from this environmental initiative, the Philippine business unit of The Coca-Cola Company also spearheads other advocacy programs such as the 5by20 Sari-sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) Program, Minute Maid Nurisha supplemental program, and the Coca-Cola Agos Program.
Coca-Cola, along with the TAYO Awards Foundation, Inc. and its other partners, continue to recognize outstanding youth organizations which have made a positive impact on the country through innovative programs, returning with the 15th TAYO Awards.
The other 15th TAYO Awardees were the Tanay Mountaineers, Inc., Division Federated Supreme Student Government and Supreme Pupil Government of Cagayan De Oro City, Samahan ng mga Iskolar ng Compostela Valley, Fine Arts Major Organization (FAMO), Silid Aralan Inc., Bangsamoro Young Leaders, Sulbec 4H Club, UP Genetic Researchers and Agricultural Innovators Society (UP GRAINS), and Make A Difference Travel.
The Plastic Solutions project is an awesome project worthy of our attention, admiration, and yes, awards. May projects like this be supported especially by travelers like us. Kudos to The Circle Hostel! May your tribe increase tremendously! See you in our next surfing sessions.