Time flies when you're doing what you love! June 2020 will mark our third year in our Eco Change Program. The program's overall goal is to motivate people to recycle by providing them with incentives. This year we are heading into one of our local area schools to work with the children to educate them on the problems with single use plastics and their disposal and offer them alternatives, one of which includes making eco-bricks with plastic wastes in exchange for items that they need in their schools, such as waste baskets, books, desks, etc. Last year, among our original Eco-stores, we also worked with an area school to recycle around 250 pounds of plastic wastes into 1,000 eco-bricks and in turn provided waste sorting trash cansfor the children to use to keep their school clean. To date we are about half way to our goal of recycling 5,250 pounds of plastic wastes into eco-bricks which are then used to build rainwater harvesting systems in communities with water scarcity. We want to take this time to thank you for supporting this great project and we hope you will continue to be a part!
Always looking for new ways to encourage people to reuse and recycle their plastic wastes into eco-bricks and to draw their attention to the problems associated with single-use plastics, this semester of our eco-brick recycling campaign we headed to a public school in the village of Chimachoy, where students exchanged 1,000 eco-bricks for a set of trash receptacles to help keep their school clean. The trash receptacles allow students to seperate their trash into paper, organic and inorganic trash for better waste disposal. In addition to providing the trash receptacles, this initiative prevented 250 pounds of plastic wastes from being burned and will provide the eco-bricks for almost 1 and a half rainwater harvesting systems. In the future, we hope to continue more outreach in the area schools to work on encouraging and motivating youth to take better care of their communities. We are also working on starting up children's movie afternoons, where local kids will exchange eco-bricks for movie entrance and snacks. We plan to show children's films, such as Wall-E, which will provoke discussion about caring for the environment, as well as will provide children with much needed wholesome entertainment. Your donations make this work possible!
We are gearing up for year 2 of our Eco-Change Program and it is going to be a great year! In addition to the recycling dimension, we are planning on including a reduction campaign to further educate our Eco-Store clients on the problems with single-use plastics as well as to help them avoid their use. Last year this program enabled us to recycle 2,500 pounds of plastic wastes into around 10,000 eco-bricks. That is enough to build around 14 rainwater harvesting systems and to provide water to around 140 people. This year our goal is to double this amount! We thank you for your continued support to this program. Keep an eye out for new updates.
We are completing the first year of operation of the world's first Eco-Stores and we have been reflecting on some lessons learned. The first lesson that we learned is that this project has been far more successful than we could have even imagined. Across the first 3 Eco-Stores we are collecting over 2,000 eco-bricks each month recycling over 500 pounds of plastics! This means we are able to increase the amount of rainwater cisterns we are currently building each year from 10 to 30. Another lesson that we have learned is to be firm with the community members about the quality of the eco-bricks they exchange. We had implemented a policy of leniency for the first visit to the Eco-Store however what we noticed is that once we accepted eco-bricks which weren't as full as they needed to be, the same customers would return again the next time with their eco-bricks lacking in quality. Finally we have also learned what kind of items our communities like. While in the town proper the Eco-Store customers typically prefer pantry supplies for daily consumption, in the smaller villages items for the home such as pitcher sets, comforters, towels, frying pans and LED lightbulbs fly off the shelves!!! We just wanted to share with you these lessons learned over the first year of these Eco-Stores as well as to share with you our plans for the future. These first 3 Eco-Stores are scheduled to receive funding in October to continue running them for the next year, making them sustainable after the initial year of start up. We are looking forward to continuing and expanding this project in both scale as well as into new areas! In fact, we have 6 new communities that are requesting Eco-Stores! Each Eco-Store costs around $3,000 to run for the start up year. Your continued donations are the first step to getting more people involved in recycling as well as to providing us with more eco-bricks to expand our community development projects. We hope you will continue being involved in this project.
Today we want to share with you some details about the success of the Eco-Store project you are a part of as well as to share with you a personal testimony of an Eco-Store customer.
First, we want to let you know that thanks to your generous donations we have been able to gather over 5,000 eco-bricks that will be used next month to build 5 rainwater harvesting systems to provide water for over 50 people! These 5,000 eco-bricks have prevented over 1,000 pounds of plastic wastes from being burned or from being thrown into clandestined dump sites. Your donations have also enabled dozens of families at each Eco-Store location to obtain pantry and household supplies that they need, including one of our most popular items during the cold winter months: bed comforters. Today we want to share with you the testimony of one of those customers, Don Octavio. Don Octavio suffers from a variety of illnesses of the kidney and liver and is unable to work or to afford the medicines that he needs to manage his condition. His wife maintains the family by working in the fields in agricultural labor. As Marly interviewed Don Octavio on how Eco-Store Panimaquin has impacted his family, we learned that Don Octavio has become empowered to contribute to his family's economy by making eco-bricks and exchanging them in the Eco-Store for items his household needs. Stories like this from Don Octavio are just the beginning!
This year we hope to open 6 additional Eco-Stores in new communities as well as to keep the original 3 going. Also, in addition to an emphasis on recycling plastics, we hope to incorporate community consciousness raising on the devastating environmental effects of single-use plastics by showcasing 1 new product a month in each of the Eco-Stores that are eco-friendly alternatives to common household items (for example reusable water bottles as an alternative to disposable plastic bottles) as well as to display a poster educating the public on why the other item is not eco-friendly (in the case of disposable plastic bottles that it takes 450 years for it to decompose). Your continued donations will help us to continue developing this great project and to achieve these goals! Thank you for all your support!
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