The 2015 report which placed the Philippines as the third largest source of plastic waste that ends up in the ocean jolted San Miguel Corp. to take a giant step for solutions.
One of the solutions that the Philippine conglomerate have found is to use plastic waste as an additive in the mixture of aggregate for road construction. It recently introduced the technology of using plastic waste for a construction of an asphalt road for its new logistics center located in Gen. Trias, Cavite.
The facility was selected as a pilot test site by San Miguel for it will primarily serve as a marshaling area for heavy loaded trucks like 18-wheelers and other heavy equipment.
Some 900 kilos of plastic waste or equivalent to some 180,000 sachets and plastic bags, were co-processed with asphalt and laid down on a 1,500-square meter pilot test site.
The use of plastic on asphalt is described by recycling and waste management advocates as an effective co-processing method as such the move of SMC is hailed as a major step in the area of sustainability.
San Miguel’s technology partner, global materials science company Dow, said that recycled plastic waste acts as a binder together with bitumen, in the production of asphalt. The Dow said that using recycled plastics in the production process can help make roads longer lasting and more durable compared to conventional asphalt.
The results from an independent laboratory testing undertaken on San Miguel’s recycled plastics road asphalt have showed that it exceeded the standards set by the Dept. of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
An effort for further testing is still underway and San Miguel intends to apply the technology for its other facilities and major infrastructure projects.
According to SMC president Ramon S. Ang, ‘what we want to achieve is to help address an important environmental issue, and that is plastic wastes. We want to create a sustainable use for waste plastics so that they don’t end up in landfills and our rivers and oceans.”
Last week, San Miguel also announced that it will adopt the use of biodegradable plastics for packaging of food and non-food products.
For this, the company is utilizing the biodegradable plastics developed by Philippine Bioresins Corporation that can be 64.65 percent degraded in 24 months as compared to non-biodegradable plastics (4.5 percent in 24 months).
The Dept. of Science and Technology (DOST) Industrial Technology Development Institute gave this innovation an Environmental Technology Verification certificate.
San Miguel has also discontinued its bottled water business a few years ago and embarked on the move to reduce group-wide non-product water use by 50% by 2025.
The use of plastic waste on roads is another addition to San Miguel’s sustainable business models which follows the principle of a circular economy wherein by-products are re-used to create other products.