Pinoy-made mobile app helps users exchange plastic trash into rewards

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A Filipino-made mobile application helps users exchange trash into rewards to encourage more people to care for the environment.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, one million plastic bottles are bought per minute while five trillion single use plastic bags are used per year worldwide.

Additionally, eight million tons of plastic reach the oceans per year so it is possible that there will be more trash than fish in 2050.

To help combat this, software developer Benjo Vidal and his friend created TrashCash, which can be used by communities to turn plastic waste into rewards.

“TrashCash has an e-wallet where you can save your points. For example, plastic bottles’ exchange rate is five to eight points per kilo,” Benjo said in a mix of English and Filipino.

“You can use those points to redeem the rewards provided by your barangays,” he added.

Currently, the TrashCash application is being used by one barangay in Tondo, Manila and in Calamba, Laguna, which the founders refer to as “community partners.”

Their community partners have the freedom to choose what rewards they are to give out.

“One of our partners’ rewards is insurance. Some offer rice then school kits in exchange for the plastics that the people deposit,” Benjo said.

Benjo said the plastics from residents then are given to their partners for repurposing.

“Clean Our Oceans Project, an organization that advocates marine observation through consumer behavior, collects and transports them from eco hubs to an upcycling company,” he said.

The developers are hopeful that they will be able to partner with more local government units in the future to urge more people to care for nature.

—Franchesca Viernes/MGP, GMA News

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