Firm hires ex-scavengers to recycle coconut husks

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

MANDAUE residents who used to find useful items among the city’s garbage, which ended up at a dumpsite in Barangay Umapad, now make a material that prevents soil erosion.

The Mandaue Coco Waste Processing Center (MCWPC) hired 20 women who used to sift through wastes at Umapad to process mature coconut husks into coco coir fiber.

The coir fiber is used to make geonets, which serves as protection of the top soil in slopes and other areas prone to erosion.


MCWPC gets coconut husks from food manufacturer Profoods and bring these to its facility adjacent to the old dumpsite in Umapad.

Earl Sanchez, proprietor of MCWPC, said they want the venture to involve the community so they hired nearby residents.

The Umapad dumpsite has been closed because it is no longer allowed under the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

Sanchez said the geonets can be exported but the company decided to offer it to local government units and other groups that want to implement soil erosion management programs.

Ricardo Mendoza, head of Mandaue City Solid Waste Management Office, said they can use the geonet to rehabilitate about 1.5 kilometers near the Cambogaong Bridge over Butuanon River, which is within the jurisdiction of Barangays Alang-alang and Paknaan.

The City Government plans to relocate families living in the area to a 6.5-hectare resettlement site in Paknaan because the riverbank is a danger zone.

Under the riverbank rehabilitation project, the geonet will be used as soil cover.

Vetiver grass will be planted in the area as an added erosion-prevention measure.

Mendoza, during a visit to the MCWPC, commended the company’s efforts not only to turn what is otherwise considered waste into a useful product, but also to help reduce Mandaue City’s garbage.

Dennis Andres, acting manager of the Philippine Coconut Agency (PCA) 7, said coconut husks can also be used as fertilizer mixture.

He said PCA is promoting the planting of coconuts because there is a high demand for the tree’s products. There is also a need to replace trees that were destroyed by super typhoon Yolanda, he added.

Mendoza assured that there is enough supply of coconut husks because Profoods alone generate about 30,000 a day.

Johndom Domagtoy, acting provincial manager of PCA Cebu, said the agency has a decorticating or defibering machine that will hasten the processing of coconut husks.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 04, 2014.

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