Leilanie G. Adriano (Staff Reporter)

LAOAG CITY—The province of Ilocos Norte is heading towards beating plastic pollution with the manufacturing of eco-bricks using recycled plastic wastes for construction purposes. Located along the national highway at Sitio Bato, Brgy. Tonoton in Piddig, Ilocos Norte the project is a model eco hub recycling facility, the first of its kind in Ilocos region.

Through a public and private partnership agreement between the Ayala-led renewable energy corporation-North Luzon Renewables and Northwind, Green Antz Builders, Sustainabuild Corporation, the Ilocos Norte provincial government and the Piddig local government, the plastic waste recycling facility is now on full swing operation after its official inauguration on Oct. 20m 2021.

Rommel Benig, Green Antz chief executive officer narrated that in 2013, they started making eco-bricks for a select community.

Later on, it spread out to other communities later reaching this northern part of Luzon as they share the same advocacy—beating plastic pollution, one brick at a time.

By using a simple technology, these plastic wrappers and debris are broken down into pieces and mixed with cement and sand to produce eco-friendly supplies and products, including eco-bricks and pervious pavers among others.

As a product showcase, the first eco hub in the province—worth around PHP4 million—was established in Piddig town as it is expected to have a ripple effect to the different parts of the province.

In her speech during the inaugural ceremony, Ilocos Norte Vice Governor Cecilia Araneta-Marcos, who pushed for the said project in the province, hopes that this kind of initiative will go a long way to benefit all Ilocanos.

“This is a dream come true in the province of Ilocos Norte. I hope this showcase is not just an opportunity to create jobs but also to contribute in solving a bigger problem on plastic pollution,” she said citing it was her late husband, then board member Mariano “Nonong” Marcos who inspired the realization of the project when he sponsored the Environment Code of 2007, which aims to provide the framework of norms, standards, and requirements in the restoration and sustainability of nature in the province.

In funding the eco hub project, Gabby Mejia, NLR and Northwind president and CEO said their company is a believer of public and private partnership and doing a collaborative project which is meant to safeguard the environment has always been on the forefront of their corporate social responsibility as a renewable energy company.

According to the manufacturers, one eco-brick consists of 50 to 100 plastics and these are five times stronger than a typical hollow block.

Some of the finished products were used in the construction of the eco-hub including the bricks and walls used at the facility of the Northwind and North Luzon Renewables power farms. 

While eco-brick is more expensive per unit compared to a traditional brick, buildings that use this alternative reduce the overall cost of construction and operation.

The eco-brick design also allows for greater insulation that drastically reduces energy consumption, resulting in lower electricity costs and environmental impact.