By Jun N. Aguirre
Tetra Pak Philippines has identified Boracay as their chosen venue for their nationwide campaign using the Used Beverage Carton (UBC) recycling process that would serve as an alternative to plastics. The launch was held at the Crimson Resort and Spa last September 26, in celebration of World Environmental Health Day. The activity was supported by the local government of Malay, Aklan and the Boracay Foundation Incorporated (BFI). The “Food Safety and Beverage Carton Recycling Forum” was meant to promote the collection of UBCs and its recyclability. With the intent to prevent UBCs from going into landfills and dump sites, Tetra Pak has been working closely with the BFI, LGU, and private sectors on Boracay to raise awareness on beverage carton recycling and to educate the local community about the importance of waste management.
During the forum, Environment Manager and Circular Economy Expert Diane Ibay-Raza shared that Tetra Pak has also been going to schools to educate young children about the importance of recycling.
Since 2002, Tetra Pak has been rolling out their Care & Share program, an annual interschool competition where about 580,000 students from 212 school partners are encouraged to properly dispose of their used beverage cartons for recycling and to drop them off at recycle bins in their schools provided by Tetra Pak. Tetra Pak also conducts environment talks among students through their school recycling education initiative, Eco Caravan.
“Sustainability is our key priority. By continuously initiating a recycling value chain process and recognizing the importance of our relationships with our partners, the collectors, recyclers, customers, government, communities, schools and other stakeholders, we aim to drive low carbon circular economy across Southeast Asia and that includes the island of Boracay and the whole Philippines. Through this movement, we stand by our commitment to protect food, people, and futures,” Michael Wu, Managing Director of Tetra Pak Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia told the media. Each tetra pack carton is made from 75 percent paperboard, 21 percent polymers, and four percent aluminum which are sourced from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified forests and other controlled sources. Through aseptic technology, these three materials are layered together using heat and pressure to form a six-layered carton which protects the content inside from moisture, oxygen, flavor, light, air, and dirt, helping products remain fresh for months even without refrigeration and preservatives. “We believe that this promotion of UBC recycling will encourage recycling practices among the locals, in turn, boosting our tourism economy in a sustainable manner,” said BFI executive director Pia Miraflores. According to Rural Industrial Corporation (RIC), there’s no limit as to what they can create using UBCs. As long as there is a demand for it and their infrastructure and technology can handle the production, they will do it. The company also sees a lot of opportunities in UBC recycling, not just in terms of creating new products but also in taking this important step to help save the climate.
Upon the collection, the gathered UBCs will be transferred to the Paper Waste Junkshop, who will ship them to Carpel Environment Corporation. Carpel then consolidates the UBC wastes and ships it to the RIC, who will recycle and upcycle the UBCs and ensure that HoReCa (Hotels/Restaurants/Cafés) on Boracay have access to buy recycled end-products. “Together with Tetra Pak, we are happy to bring this initiative to Boracay. If anything, there should be more campaigns and legislations out there that push our beautiful island to be a more sustainable destination. We want to see our place do well by doing good, and this starts with the community taking responsibility for its actions,” acting Malay Mayor Frolibar Bautista said in a statement.