USAID’s Clean Cities, Blue Ocean Program Awards its First Five Grants in the Philippines
USAID’s Clean Cities, Blue Ocean Program announced its first five grants in the Philippines in January 2021 to grantees that will work over the next one to two years to implement new, local solutions that not only address ocean plastics by improving waste management and promoting more sustainable community practices but provide opportunities for new jobs, education, income, and leadership.
In January 2021, USAID’s flagship program on ocean plastic pollution, Clean Cities, Blue Ocean (CCBO), announced the award of over $890,000 in grant funds to five organizations in the Philippines who will work at the local level–in and with communities–to identify, test, and scale solutions that promote the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) and enhance solid waste management systems. Through its grants program and additional support, including technical assistance, the CCBO program is supporting the Philippines to improve upon and develop new waste management solutions to better manage the estimated 2.7 million tons of plastic that are generated in the country each year–twenty percent of which is estimated to end up in the ocean.
CCBO’s first wave of Philippines grantees is composed of five organizations: Catholic Relief Services, Communities Organized for Resource Allocation (CORA), Green Antz Builders, Inc. (Green Antz), the Plastic Credit Exchange (PCEx), and Project Zacchaeus Marketing Cooperative (PZC) who are working across Metro Manila and in the city of Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Through these grants, CCBO will pilot new models for more circular economies with increased recycling rates, reduced landfill waste and leakage into nearby waters, and improved livelihoods for those that are at the heart of local waste systems.
A January 2021 launch event officially announced CCBO and its grantees new partnerships, led by the Director of the USAID Philippines Mission and the U.S. Embassy’s Charge d’Affaires. Learn more about each of CCBO’s grantees, below.
Meet CCBO’s Newest Grantees
Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
- Project: Clean Manila, Blue Bay
- Location: Tondo District, City of Manila, Philippines
CRS will build local (barangay and city) government and private sector capacity to more effectively implement solid waste management (SWM) laws through a new training series covering SWM policy, strategies, waste analysis and characterization studies, and solid waste planning–while supporting communities in the adoption of more sustainable waste management and reduce, reuse, and recycle (the 3Rs) practices. In addition, the CRS program addresses women’s equality and economic empowerment by involving women in trainings on SWM policies and strategies, identifying and supporting SWM Ambassadors from women’s groups, and specifically working with women to advance their SWM-based livelihoods through skills training, business planning, and access to seed funds to start a business with ongoing mentorship and support.
- Project: Circular Center: Enhanced Recovery and Recycling Mechanism for Marine Litter
- Location: Cities of Parañaque and Las Piñas, Manila, Philippines
Through this grant, CORA will establish a new “Circular Center” located within an existing city material recovery facility (MRF) that is currently limited in processing large volumes of recyclable materials. CORA will pilot the Circular Center model to capture and give new life to plastics and other waste gathered from regular beach clean-ups, as well as from local households and businesses, as a model that can be adopted by and scaled to other cities. The Center will recover and process this otherwise low-value and low-potential waste, such as plastic sachets, into new recycled plastic goods, while also building new employment opportunities for women. CORA will provide workforce development training to empower and advance women in waste and recycling roles. The Circular Center will also welcome the community, providing a community education center to bring awareness about the importance of more sustainable consumption and waste practices – such as reducing plastic consumption, reusing materials when possible, and taking part in recycling.
- Project: Community EcoHub: Integrated Waste Management Solution
- Location: Barangay Manggahan, Pasig City, Philippines
Green Antz will address plastic pollution by improving the collection, segregation, sorting and recycling systems at the barangay level. The project will build an integrated waste management system through the establishment of a community EcoHub, capable of processing organics and single use plastics to turn them into usable products and managed by a team of employed community facility and collection staff. By increasing recycling rates and reusing materials to make new products, Green Antz not only reduces the demand for new plastic production and diverts a significant amount of organic and plastic waste going to landfills, but also offsets the energy and resource intensive production of other materials, such as cement blocks, with their innovative ecobricks. By engaging LGUs, private sector partners and communities, Green Antz will promote sustainable 3R/SWM practices and create a community-level waste management plan, supported by the EcoHub. The center will eventually be turned over to a community-run, non-governmental organization as a fee-based, self-sustaining facility.
Plastic Credit Exchange (PCEx)
- Project: Aling Tindera Network
- Location: City of Manila, Philippines
Through its CCBO grant, the Plastic Credit Exchange will pilot its Aling Tindera Network model to address plastic waste in the City of Manila. The project will establish ten Aling Tindera stations by engaging women micro-entrepreneurs who own sari sari stores–small, home-based convenience stores. The sari saris will serve as community collection points for plastic waste where community members can bring and sell their plastic in exchange for cash. Sari sari stores will be fully equipped with container vans, scales, and balers to condense the plastic–preparing it for PCEx’s offtake partners who will recycle and transform the plastic waste. Behind the model is a network of private sector companies who wish to offset their plastic production and environmental footprint through the purchase of “plastic credits,” which finance the system. To ensure the sustainability and feasibility of this model, PCEx will collaborate with various government agencies and industry groups to strengthen policies and frameworks on post-consumer plastic waste management. Along the way, PCEx will capture and learn from the direct experience and results of the Aling Tindera model with the goal to replicate and scale up in other cities.
- Project: Project Eco-Kolek
- Location: Barangay Bancao-Bancao, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
Project Zacchaeus Marketing Cooperative will work with sixty waste collectors from the community of Barangay Bancao-Bancao, which has over the last years provided critical waste management services for the area with little resources and representation. Through CCBO’s grant, Project Eco-Kolek will engage waste collectors in trainings on proper waste management, health and safety, and–most of all– leadership skills that can empower the waste collectors and will emphasize their important role in the community. Project Eco-Kolek will establish a safe garbage collection system for the waste collectors by equipping them with protective uniforms, upgrading the vehicles used for collection, and optimizing collection routes. In addition to improving and securing their work environment, these improvements will also enable more area to be covered for improved waste services, as well as higher income and earnings amongst the waste collectors. Outwardly, Project E-Kolek will also engage with members of the community to understand their current waste practices and introduce more sustainable practices, such as waste segregation.
To learn more about CCBO’s Grants Program and other opportunities to collaborate with the program, please visit www.urban-links.org/ccbo.