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Last Sunday, piles of garbage — mostly plastic bottles, sachets and other common household wastes were washed onto the streets of Subangdaku, Mandaue City from Mahiga River due to heavy rain.

Photo from Sunstar Cebu Facebook Page

This is one of the scenarios that this newly opened Plastic Barter Store in Balay Samaritano, Mabini St., Sto. Niño, Cebu City wants to eliminate. The store will accept plastic bottles, sachets and food packs in exchange of groceries, clothes, toys and school supplies. For example, your 2 kilos of plastics could be traded with a box of crayons and your 8 kilos of plastics to a pack of rice.

The store is being operated by two private organizations, The Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation – Integrated Development Center (JPIC-IDC) Inc. and the Rotary Foundation, Inc. under its 12 Baskets Movement.

I was able to talked to one of the store’s employee Gina Espenilla who said that this initiative will benefit the less-fortunate because most of the store’s customers are street dwellers and scavengers. According to her, they hope that those who are not really in need would just donate their plastics without asking anything in return. They will also accept used clothing, toys, school supplies and groceries as donations.

The plastics that are brought to the store will be shredded and will be mixed in making hollow blocks. Gina also said that these hollow blocks will be used in urban housing projects in San Pio Village, a subdivision in Barangay Dumlog, Talisay City for former scavengers.

The store is open Mondays through Saturdays at 9:00AM to 3:00PM.

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