Group swaps trash for cash amid pandemic

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Actress and philanthropist Nanette Medved-Po (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 4) — A social enterprise is taking the "may pera sa basura" adage one notch higher amid the pandemic.

Non-profit group Plastic Credit Exchange (PCEx) is hitting two birds with one stone as it seeks to help preserve the environment while providing a fresh source of income to struggling Filipinos.

Actress and philanthropist Nanette Medved-Po said PCEx has rolled out its waste-to-cash initiative in the City of Manila through their Aling Tindera network.

"We work with women micro-entrepreneurs who are sari-sari store owners. We provide them with a container van and some other implements for them to be able to collect plastic waste from the community and pay for it," Po told CNN Philippines' The Source.

"It's a wonderful thing especially now with such high unemployment due to the COVID crisis. People can not only make some money cleaning up by making our environment better," she added.

Po, who is also behind the Hope in a Bottle project, admitted that the coronavirus outbreak forced people and economies to go back to single-use plastic for hygiene and safety. For her, this entails doubling efforts to clean up one's waste and improve resource recovery.

RELATED: ‘Unnecessary’ single-use plastic products now banned in gov’t offices nationwide

"It would be anti-poor to remove these sorts of ways to deliver products to the market," the former Darna star said.

"We're very fortunate that many companies, the people that usually get a bit of a bad rap from plastic pollution, are actually very aggressive in wanting to make sure they are part of the solution," she added.

PCEx also partners with local and global companies towards reducing their plastic footprint.