Recycling the non-recyclable!

For the benefit of families in the Philippines.

children scavenge on rubbish tipYour local council might not be able to recycle these waste resources (see below) but for poor families in the Philippines this waste will make the difference between having a meal or not that night.

A charity called The Philippine Community Fund www.p-c-f.org aims to permanently improve the quality of life for the poorest Filipino communities through education, nutrition, health, medical and family enhancement programmes, and to free every Filipino child and their family from the effects of poverty.

When Jane Walker founded the UK registered charity The Philippine Community fund (PCF) in 2002,  she never imagined that she would be asking people in the UK to send her their rubbish!

PCF works with children and their families who live and work on Smokey Mountain rubbish dump in Manila, Baguio rubbish dump and Navotas cemetery. Children as young as 4 search through mounds of putrid garbage for glass, metal and paper to sell to a recycling agent, for as little as £1 for a 10 hour working day in blistering heat.

Jane soon realised that PCF needed to help not only the children but also their parents, many of whom were unemployed or earning just £5 a week to support a family of 7.  For the past 3 years PCF has been perfecting a range of WOW (Winning Over Waste) products made from toothpaste tubes (the squeezy type), ring pulls, non-biodegradable plastic bags and jar lids from sauce bottles like Dolmio and curry sauces.  All the net profit goes directly to their education programmes in the Philippines for working children and for providing more jobs for the community. WOW employees are paid a good rate per item working in a clean, safe environment and are able for the first time in their lives to provide for their families. It is such a joy to see their self-esteem soar.

Making dresses out of sweet wrappers

PCF strives to use products that are difficult to recycle. Toothpaste tubes and juice cartons are flattened, sterilised and stitched into extremely strong shopping bags, pencil cases and coin purses. Glossy magazines are rolled and varnished into beads, making unique coloured necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Ring pulls from baked bean cans and soft drinks are cleaned, rubbed down, polished and crocheted into amazing handbags, wallets and purses.

Jane regularly commutes to the Philippines from her base in the UK. A small team of 4 including Jane and Jane’s sister Ange, run the UK office from Southampton.

upcyclingKeeping UK costs to a minimum by enlisting the help of volunteers and paying a low office rent,  they send 87p in every £1 donated directly to their projects in the Philippines.  The materials are shipped out from Southampton on container vans and in balikybayan boxes to the Philippines.

Philippine Children go to school because of crisp packet recyclingThe Philippine Community Fund shopThey would welcome toothpaste tubes (the squeezy type), toothbrushes, aluminium ring pulls, non biodegradable plastic bags and jar lids from sauce bottles like Dolmio and curry sauces. Through recycling your waste you will be helping to educate working children in the Philippines and their parents. Please look at the Philippine Community website to see the wonderful families you will be helping.

Sussex Green Living’s Green Warrior Pedro has set up a recycling collection scheme for the PCF.  For more information about the Sussex recycling locations visit this page or contact Pedro or Carrie. Or you could set up your own recycling collection location and then co-ordinate collections direct with PCF on 01489 790219.

 
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About Carrie Cort

My name is Carrie Cort, I set up Sussex Green Living out of concern for the way we humans are treating the planet which sustains us. With motherhood in 2008 came concern about environmental sustainability and a burning desire to learn how we can live more environmentally friendly lifestyles, in harmony with nature. I have always had a passion for the countryside, animals and the natural environment. Most of my career has been spent in marketing and communications, mainly within education and the landbased industries, latterly using the power of video communications. In an effort to help create a climate for change I decided to use my knowledge and digital skills to share ideas which anyone can adopt, saving money and the planet. I’m not an expert, just an ordinary person who is on a greening journey and wanting to pass on what I’ve learnt to others. Let’s all make some simple changes, become more resilient and try to lead simpler, less materialistic and consumerist way of life.
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