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Philippines: Efforts to Reduce Plastic Waste

Innovative Recycling System to Work Together With Local Communities

Marine pollution caused by plastic waste is a global issue. Ajinomoto Philippines Corporation established an innovative recycling system to reduce this plastic waste.

Going Beyond Seasonings and Food Products to Contribute to Local Communities

Ajinomoto Philippines Corporation (APC), established in 1958, has long committed to the prosperity of local communities and the health of consumers through the provision of high-quality seasonings and food products. However, APC now faces environmental conservation and other global issues, including marine pollution caused by plastic waste.

APC strives to reduce plastic waste by transitioning to paper packaging for our main product, AJI-NO-MOTO®. As a developing country, the Philippines still faces numerous other issues to overcome individually, making it difficult for individual citizens to focus on global change. In response, APC launched a recycling system service for plastic waste, focusing on accessibility to customers.

New SariCycle System Launched Through a Public-Private Partnership

APC launched the new system SariCycle in January 2024 in cooperation with Quezon City of Metro Manila and local waste management company Basic Environmental Systems and Technologies (“BEST”).

Sari-Sari stores serve as collection points for plastic waste. These stores are small, individually ran stores that handle a wide range of daily necessities from food to miscellaneous goods. Many products sold at these stores are packaged in single-use plastic, to be discarded shortly after use. This plastic often ends up as unrecycled waste, contributing to increased plastic waste.

SariCycle solves this issue by offering store owners the chance to earn environmental points for correctly sorting plastic packaging collected from customers, and bringing it to recycle centers. Accumulated points can be exchanged for daily necessities or used to offset utility bills. In addition, store owners stay motivated by choosing their favorite APC product when they reach the target amount. In this way, SariCycle reduces plastic waste by ensuring that plastic collected at the recycling centers is recycled or properly disposed of.

Sari-Sari stores are deeply ingrained in daily life due to their community-based nature, making the program highly accessible to customers. SariCycle aims to raises awareness of recycling among store owners and customers alike through the use of these stores.

Connecting With Customers in Hopes to Develop Better Communities

APC held a kick-off event for the launch of SariCycle at the Quezon City Hall on January 8, 2024. Hosted by popular DJ Mama Emma, over 150 Sari-Sari store owners attended this event. Honorable guests included President Koichi Ozaki of APC, President Isabelita Mercado and Senior Vice President Jan Vincent Mercado of BEST, and Mayor Joy Belmonte of Quezon City, boosting the morale of attending store owners committed to the new recycling system.

At present, SariCycle is in the beginning experimental phase in Quezon City, but plans are underway to gradually expand into other municipalities.

Chief Sustainability Officer Ernie Carlos of APC spoke of the system, saying, "Through the SariCycle program, we aim not only to reduce and manage plastic waste but also to support our consumers, who have been our valued partners for over 65 years, and the community itself."
APC strives to contribute to the community in various ways based on trusting relationship built with the local community.