Ilocos Norte recycling hub to convert plastics into ecobricks

RECYCLING FACILITY. Officials of the provincial government of Ilocos Norte and Piddig town, together with those from Green Antz Builders, break ground for an eco hub recycling facility in Barangay Tonoton, Piddig, Ilocos Norte on Friday (July 30, 2021). The facility will convert plastic wastes into ecobricks for construction projects. (Photo courtesy of ENRO-Ilocos Norte)

LAOAG CITY – Green Antz Builders, an Ayala-led renewable energy corporation, will soon set up a waste recycling hub in Ilocos Norte that will produce sturdy eco-brick building materials out of irritating duscarded plastic wastes.

Ilocos Norte officials and residents welcome the prospects and eagerly anticipate the realization of the project shortly. The eco-brics are reputedly even more durable than the regular cement hollow blocks.

look forward to converting discarded plastic materials into ecobricks which are even more durable than regular hollow blocks for construction projects.

The eco hub facility will be set up in Sitio Bato, Barangay Tonoton of Piddig town, It will be a joint undertaking between  yhe Ayala corporate firm and the provincial and municipal governments of Ilocos Norte.

Once fully operational, the facility, which broke ground last Friday, will collect and convert discarded plastic materials into  valuable ecobricks for houses and buildings.

Ilocos Norte Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) chief, Estrella “Baby” Sacro, said the venture is in response to the global plastic waste pollution problem.Despite governments aggressive campaign against plastic pollution, many people simply dispose their plastic waste anywhere or even worst, burn them in their backyards.

“We hope the facility will not only provide jobs for the locals but also inspire people to segregate their wastes properly,” she said, adding the facility will eventually reduce plastic wastes and improve environmental management that will lengthen the life span of the towns and cities’ sanitary landfills.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development projects that the global demand for plastic will continue to grow and is likely to double in the next 20 years. Only 9% of the total plastics produced are recycled hence, it is estimated that some 8 million tons of plastics will pollute the environment.

Packaging accounts for the largest use of plastics globally, creating a growing societal pressure for companies to adopt circular models with no waste.

With appropriate technology, plastic products are broken down into pieces and mixed with cement and sand to produce ecobricks.

Prior to the approval of the said project, Green Antz chief executive officer Rommel Benig, in his presentation before members of the Ilocos Norte Provincial Board, said one ecobrick may consist of 50 to 100 plastics and is five times stronger than a typical hollow block.

While ecobricks are more expensive per unit compared to traditional bricks, these reduce the overall cost of building construction and operation, he said, adding that ecobricks also allow greater insulation, thus, drastically reducing energy consumption, resulting in lower electricity costs and environmental impact.

Some of the Green Antz Builders’finished rcobricks have been tested in the construction of pavement in a school in Pagudpud, as well as in other parts of the country.

Aside from the eco hub facility, the Ilocos Norte government, with the support of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, is also in the process of constructing a P24-million model cluster plastic recycling and resource recovery facility in Marcos town.

To address the garbage collection and disposal problem, the Ilocos Norte Provincial government has provided a garbage compactor to each city and municipality in the province for the purpose.