Tarp Shopping Bag
In a creative action aimed at preventing campaign tarpaulins from entering the waste stream and aggravating pollution at dumpsites, the EcoWaste Coalition today unveiled an array of useful items from the ubiquitous poll campaign material.
At a makeshift outdoor showroom, the zero waste advocacy group presented various tarpaulin-based products that were among the tons of unlawful election campaign paraphernalia taken down by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) from unauthorized display spots and given to the EcoWaste Coalition for recycling.
“With an ounce of creativity, we can make a variety of practical crafts out of politicians’ tarpaulins, which we can find all over the place as the campaign goes full blast,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Repurposing the campaign tarps will help keep these plastics out of dumpsites that are bursting at the seams as the country’s garbage continues to swell,” she said.
With the message “Tarps: Dump Not, Burn Not” as backdrop, the group put on display the innovatively repurposed items.
Among the items in view were sturdy shopping bags in various sizes, petite carry bags, shoe bags and purses.
Other items on show were workers’ aprons, tool belts, bills and magazines organizers and receptacles for office and household recyclables such as papers, newspapers, glass and plastic bottles and aluminum and tin cans.
The tarps can also be used as a sun and rain shield for pedicabs, tricycles and jeepneys, as well as improvised awnings for homes and shops, the EcoWaste Coalition added.
In pushing for the repurposing or recycling of campaign tarps for non-food purposes, the group stressed that doing so will help cut the volume, as well as the toxicity, of discards that are disposed of in dumpsites.
“Dumping these tarps will lead to their chemical ingredients leaching into the soil, as well as to surface and ground waters,” cautioned Lucero.
“Burning these tarps, which are mostly made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, will create and discharge extremely toxic pollutants, namely dioxins and furans, that can contaminate the food supply chain and harm human health,” she added.
However, the group pointed out that repurposing the tarps is a temporary measure that will only delay their eventual disposal.
“What is really needed is for the plastic industry to remove the harmful chemicals in tarps, for the government to issue a health-protective regulation and for consumers to insist on toxic-free tarps. This will surely make the recycling of tarps safer and less complicated,” Lucero said.
“While the industry has yet to switch to safer formulations, we urge candidates for the May 2016 polls to moderate their use of tarps and to take full responsibility for their tarps after the campaign period is over,” she emphasized.
As tarps contain undisclosed chemicals of concern, the EcoWaste Coalition further reminded the public not to use tarps in applications that may contaminate the food or expose young children to hazardous substances.