Dole Philippines, Inc. launched on Thursday its newest recycling movement dubbed “Sunshine Heroes” to encourage the culture of recycling among young Filipinos.
Dole Philippines has partnered with Gone Adventurin’ and Mother Earth Foundation to roll out its Sunshine Heroes campaign in five public schools in Metro Manila — three in Quezon City and two in Malabon.
The Sunshine Heroes Program put up material recovery facilities (MRFs) in five public schools in the National Capital Region (NCR), in which each school sells the recyclable materials to local recyclers, particularly junkshops.
Proceeds from the sale of recyclable materials aim to fund school activities.
“Recycling is a habit that needs to form early. We need to teach kids that all the trash they see laying around our streets and clogging our waterways is because we need more recycling and less trash,” Dole Asia Vice President for Marketing and Innovations Ashvin Subramanyam said.
“We chose to engage the youth because of their role in helping change mindsets about recycling and proper waste management,” he added.
In a press conference in Makati City Thursday, Gone Adventurin’ CEO Ashwin Subramaniam said they would monitor the program in the next six to 12 months before rolling out Sunshine Heroes to other schools.
Subramaniam noted that the program was initially implemented in NCR as the region accounted for 8,000 tons of trash out of 40,000 daily collection of garbage in the country.
He stressed that the program targeted the students in order to inculcate the significance of recycling in reducing the waste that the country produced.
It was noted that the Philippines was the third largest plastic waste contributor in the Pacific Ocean, following China and Indonesia.
Subramanyam also said that the major challenge in any recycling programs was the collection of recyclable materials and segregation of wastes which could be recycled.
“Selling the scrap to junkshops is already a working system. The major challenge is how to collect and separate these wastes and choose what can be recycled,” he said.
“When you collect, there’s already value in it. So, selling would be easy,” he added.
It was noted that only a small portion of recyclable packaging materials around the world is being recycled, while about 95 percent of its total value or around USD80 billion to USD120 billion annually is lost to the economy.
Meanwhile, aside from putting up MRFs, Sunshine Heroes Program also involves conducting a series of recycling workshops and fora educating young students about the importance of recycling.
To add fun in learning and encouraging students to take an active role in promoting a sustainable environment, Sunshine Heroes has four recycling characters inspired by endemic animals in the Philippines which also represent the types of ecosystem.
These characters include the carabao representing the land, Philippine eagle representing the air, pawikan representing the sea, and tarsier representing the trees.