Pagudpud school churning out eco-bricks from plastic waste

Published November 10, 2020, 6:11 AM

by Philippine News Agency

LAOAG CITY (PNA) – A school in the province of Ilocos Norte may be devoid of students due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, but it never runs out of “green ideas” to contribute to the preservation of the environment.

A worker paints eco-tile bricks made of plastic waste materials in this undated photo. (Photo courtesy of Thelma Ruiz-Sacsac/ PNA/ MANILA BULLETIN)

At the Luzong National High School (LNHS) in Pagudpud town, for example, the school has declared war on solid waste by slowly converting laminated packaging and other plastic waste materials into something sturdy and pleasing to the eyes.

Known as eco-bricks, these have become a source of livelihood for some of the locals as the school has found use for them to beautify the school pavement, or sold to “plantitos” and “plantitas” who have grown so much interest in plants since the COVID-19 lockdown started.

“It all started with a contest on solid waste management last year sponsored by the North Luzon Renewable Corporation (NLREC). We joined the contest and we won the P10,000 prize. We then used the amount as seed money to buy molder and cement,” said Thelma Ruiz-Sacsac, Master Teacher II of LNHS in an interview Monday. She proposed the project with the support of her principal, Dr. Gladys A. Acoba.

NLREC is the owner and operator of the 81-megawatt wind farm in Caparispisan village, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, which provides incentives to green initiative projects, and programs on a sustainable environment as part of its corporate social responsibility to host communities.

For every 50 to 100 pieces of plastics, one eco tile brick is produced, which is about five to six times stronger than a regular brick made of sand and cement.

While the students have been busy working on their self-learning modules at home, some parents and teachers have been also using their spare time in school to lay the eco tile bricks that they have produced.

Pegged at P80-P100 per eco brick measuring 15 x 15 inches, Sacsac said they have also been selling eco-bricks to interested buyers from the community.

“We are selling some of the eco-bricks to the community for sustainability,” she added.

In a draft provincial resolution certified as urgent by Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc on Monday, the province of Ilocos Norte, in partnership with the NLREC and Green Antz Builders, laid out plans to construct and develop an eco hub in the province.

The eco hub facility aims to collect and reuse discarded plastic materials and transform them into valuable resources like eco-bricks for construction.

According to Board Member Donald Nicolas, Green Antz Builders, represented by its President and Chief Executive Officer Rommel Benig, has the technology in the manufacture of eco-bricks which could be adopted in the entire province.

The facility is also expected to benefit local communities not only on job generation but also to inspire more people to segregate their wastes properly, and eventually improve reduction at source.