Birch Tree, ‘Aling Tinderas’ lead fight vs mounting waste

The milk brand is currently sponsoring two locations for a women micro-entrepreneur-led plastic waste recycling program and aims to expand to other areas in the country

Beloved dairy brand Birch Tree has been helping to uplift and empower local women micro-entrepreneurs to earn extra income during the pandemic.

This is through the Aling Tindera Waste-to-Cash program—an initiative between Plastic Credit Exchange (PCX) and Birch Tree, manufactured by Century Pacific Food, Inc. (CNPF), one of the Philippines’ leading food and beverage companies.

“When we initially partnered with PCX in 2019, our only goal then was to offset our entire plastic footprint for the year. We committed to offsetting 300,000kg of plastic waste. But as we continued to hear positive stories from those who have participated in the program, we can’t help but be glad of this program’s immediate positive financial impact,” said Greg Banzon, Chief Operating Officer, CNPF. 

Under the Aling Tindera program, PCX incentivizes women-owned sari-sari stores to become collection points for post-consumer plastic waste.

The participants are also provided with the necessary community infrastructure to aggregate, sort, and efficiently transport waste to partner processing facilities. Incentivizing residents to collect plastic waste also paves the way for cleaner environments and improved public health.  

Aling Tindera vs mounting waste

The Aling Tindera Waste-to-Cash program was created in response to the growing challenge of plastic waste ending up in nature. Its goal is to serve as an aggregation hub where any community member may sell post-consumer plastic by kilogram.  

Since July 2020, Birch Tree has sponsored two Aling Tindera locations. “Birch Tree was one of the first brands to step up to become an Aling Tindera partner. Through the company’s sponsorship, we were able to fully equip our partner ‘Aling Tinderas’ with the tools they need to operate their collection point,” said PCX in a statement. 

The ‘Aling Tinderas’ are women sari-sari store owners invited by the city governments to join the initiative. Through the program, each woman is provided with a purposefully designed 10-foot or 20-foot container, one manual baler to help manage the collected waste, one weighing scale, and starting capital. 

One of the Aling Tinderas is 42-year-old Neneng Rosello, who earns a living from peeling garlic. Since the start of operations of the waste-to-cash program in her area, Rosello has made Php1,868.75. Before the pandemic, she would join other similar plastic waste collection programs to earn extra money. 

“Dahil sa Aling Tindera, nagawa kong ipagpatuloy ang magandang gawain para sa kapaligiran. Mas nakakatulong rin ako sa aking pamilya at nakadagdag sa aming budget pinansyal,” Rosello said. 

Meanwhile, 50-year-old Raquel Moderazo, another Aling Tindera, gets her primary source of income from her eatery business. Since she accepted the city government’s invitation to join the program, Moderazo has earned Php1,763.75. 

Aling Tindera Raquel poses before the waste collection facility of the waste-to-cash program

“Nakakatulong po ang Birch Tree sa paglinis ng ating basura sa paligid habang nakakatulong sa gaya naming bahagi ng Aling Tindera. Kahit nadagdagan yung obligasyon ko, masaya ako na nakakatulong din naman sa pag-aalaga ng kapaligiran,” Moderazo said. 

There are currently eight Aling Tindera locations in the City of Manila. PCX aims to increase this number to 100 while also expanding to other areas across the country.

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