DENR National Capital Region’s North Field Office (NFO) recovered and prepared recyclable wastes from its previous cleanup activities to help reduce the amount of waste transported to landfills.

The NFO, headed by DCEO Olga O. Arzadon, initiated the activity in response to Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan’s directive to collect recyclable waste during the conduct of their regular cleanups.

Director Caancan directed the field offices to set aside recyclable wastes to help improve the waste diversion rate of the region, efforts on resource conservation, and the cleanup and rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

“Waste diversion” is defined under Sec. 3, sub-paragraph (ss) of Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 as those “activities which reduce or eliminate the amount of solid waste from waste disposal facilities.” Sec. 20, on the other hand, required all local government units to “divert at least 25% of all solid waste from waste disposal facilities through re-use, recycling, and composting activities and other resource recovery activities”, subject to increase every three years.

In a report published by the Senate Economic Planning Office (SEPO), the solid waste diversion rate of Metro Manila is already at 48 percent as of 2015. Director Caancan wants to improve this through the conduct of advocacy on waste reduction, segregation, and recycling activities at the barangay level.

The NFO will bring the collected recyclable materials to the My Basurero Eco-community Center (MBEC) in exchange for Environmental Points under the Trash-to-Cashback Program of the regional office. DENR National Capital Region, as may be recalled, has entered into an agreement with Basic Environmental Systems & Technologies, Inc. on the operationalization of the Trash to Cashback Program in the regional office and in the establishment of an MBEC at the National Ecology Center in Quezon City last August 6, 2021.

The Trash to Cashback program allows the public to trade their recyclables into ‘environmental points’ (EPs) which in turn can be exchanged for products and services of partner stores and establishments of the program.