Over a week after election day, tons of campaign materials continue to litter the streets, still up on walls and posts or left on the ground without care. According to Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), there are up to 20 tons of campaign materials being collected everyday since election day. We’ve got a lot of cleaning up to do, but that doesn’t mean burning these tarpaulins and other campaign materials (Do not do that! Not only is it bad for the environment, it’s bad for your health, too!). Instead of simply throwing them away as trash, you can get them upcycled and refashioned for a new, sustainable product that you yourself could use. Here are some organizations and establishments that accept tarps and other campaign materials for upcycling:
Aside from littered sample ballots & other campaign matls. like promotional paper fans, Basura Patrollers also monitored the reckless disposal of single-use food & beverage packaging in polling centers, especially plastic water bottles. Discarded face masks were also seen. pic.twitter.com/axmlwdJcJ4
— EcoWaste Coalition (@EWCoalition) May 10, 2022
Side B Upcycling
If you don’t know what to do with all the campaign materials you collected over the past few months, you can donate them to Side B Upcycling, known for their stylish yet durable and water-resistant bags refashioned from used tarpaulins. This time, they’re turning to election tarps in particular. If you want one of your own, you can choose from their six designs: the Clutch, the Sling, the Fanny, the BB, the Flexi, and the Quazi. For every purchase, the Side B Upcycling team will be donating a bag to a school kid, too!
To donate your tarps, coordinate with the team (look for Stu at +639178326156) before you can drop off or send your tarps to Unit 301 ENC5 Building, Mother Ignacia corner Samar Street, Quezon City.
Streets to Schools
Streets to Schools is a youth organization amplifying the Global Goals for Sustainable Development and UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. And in line with their advocacy, they’re accepting tarps that they can refashion into school kits. They will upcycle your donations into different items that would be given to children all over the country.
You can drop off or send your tarps and campaign materials to the following addresses:
- Qjiel Mariano | +639177985148 | 38 Zeus Lias cor. Yen Sts. Saint Michael Homes Lias, Marilao, Bulacan
- Rugeal May Angeline N. Fabia | +639667148829 | 550 Sancho Panza, Sampaloc, Manila (near Pink Pantry, behind National University)
Mara Chua + Kilusan MNL
Responding to the call and idea to repurpose campaign materials into bags, fashion designer Mara Chua immediately got to work with her own tarps, and the results look amazing. She and her team are doing a fundraising project to partner with more sewing communities and distribute the bags to those who need it. If you’re interested, you can purchase and sponsor a bag through Shopee. For those who want to donate their tarps, you just need to send a message on Instagram or Facebook.
Sentinel UpCycling Technologies
To create new, sustainable products, Sentinel UpCycling Technologies breaks down plastic into pellets, which are then used to manufacture different upcycled plastic products like monobloc chairs, armchairs, benches, stools, bins, trays, hangers, and more. Recently, Sentinel announced that they are working with a local women’s labor cooperative to turn election tarps into bags that can be used by their collection partners to eliminate the need for single-use plastic bags. To donate your tarps, head to their Malabon Factory or to First Pinnacle Trading Corporation, 60 West Avenue, West Triangle, Quezon City.
The Plastic Flamingo
Another option is to reach out to social enterprises like The Plastic Flamingo (a.k.a. The Plaf). In a mission to turn plastic waste into sustainable products to fight marine pollution, they collect and recycle all types of plastics, including tarpaulins. You can drop off your tarps at these locations:
- The Plaf Warehouse in Putatan, Muntinlupa City
- Concierge Booth Phase 1 of Ayala UP Town Center in Quezon City
- Aksyon ng Kabataan Organization in Parang, Marikina City
- Pot Twist in Cainta, Rizal
- Decathlon branches in Pasig, Alabang, and Masinag
- Kalikhasan Eco-Friendly Solutions in Merville, Parañaque City
- Yogheart in Jaleville Subdivision, Parañaque City
- Ecolution in Cabucgayan, Biliran
- Eco Folk PH in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental
B.E.S.T. – My Basurero
If you’re looking for a little more push to haul all those extra campaign materials out the door, you should check out My Basurero. This project by Basic Environmental Systems and Technologies, Inc. accepts plastic, paper, and metal in exchange for their so-called environmental points. You can then use these points to redeem food items (e.g. milk tea, ice cream, burgers, lechon belly) and grocery supplies (e.g. cooking oil, instant noodles, toothbrush) on bxtraoutlet.delivery. Find a drop-off spot near you with their locator.
Your local government
If the aforementioned initiatives are not accessible from your location, you can try reaching out to your local government. Manila’s very own Department of Public Safety (DPS) has started an initiative called “Tarpaulin Mo, Ireresiklo Ko!” to reduce the volume of garbage post-elections. They are turning tarps and other campaign materials into bags, wallets, and tissue holders. Your own local government might have their own similar initiative.
Make your own at home
You can also try your own hand at upcycling at home. Ecowaste Coalition suggests turning your tarps, posters, sample ballots and other campaign materials into different items. They showed samples of tote bags, shoe bags, laundry bags, aprons, book covers, folders, envelopes, bookmarks, paper holders, memo pads, and more. However, they do emphasize to only repurpose into NON-FOOD and NON-CHILD applications as tarps may contain hazardous chemicals that may contaminate the food or expose children to chemical risks.