On March 2, 2022, Marita Blanco — or Aling Marita as most know her — was deployed as one of the individuals under Plastic Credit Exchange’s Aling Tindera waste-to-cash program just four days before her 54th birthday. A few months into the program, Aling Marita makes being a 54-year old look almost effortless as she tends to her small sari-sari store, occasionally sidelines as a street-sweeper for her local community, and builds up as much recyclable trash to drop off at PCX’s collection station.
Throughout most days, with just a few products like coffee and bread being sold, the earnings Aling Marita receives from her store can typically reach up to 300 pesos on a daily basis. These earnings stand as her main source of income for her own everyday sustenance, but also uses it to help her youngest child, who is also a single parent, finish her schooling and care for her own child.
Although generally new to the program, Aling Marita treats her role as an Aling Tindera like any other great source of income to provide for herself and her children as much as possible. Through this, she’s managed to gather just enough extra income to handle her own needs, help pay for her young grandchild’s milk, and help her four other children even though they already have their own individual families and jobs.
Aling Marita first started collecting old, worn-out tires to take to the Plastic Credit Exchange’s collection station, wherein she has already been able to bring home two sets of earnings solely from gathering tires. As time goes on, one of her daughters, Violy, has joined in the Aling Tindera routine, and the two of them often gather and clean used plastic bottles for new batches of waste to exchange for cash.
With just a few months of collecting used plastic, Aling Marita, Violy, and even their local community have learned a lot from the Aling Tindera experience. What was once treated as something that would never receive attention has now become a source of income — a source of betterment. Early on, Aling Marita and Violy would collect trash to simply earn income, but they now see how this simple endeavour of theirs has ultimately contributed to a cleaner and greener community for everyone.
The Aling Tindera program has simultaneously taught them to segregate and dispose of trash properly, and has helped their local community be more disciplined when it comes to waste disposal. By selling their own plastic collection to Aling Marita and her daughter, the community of San Andres Bukid in Manila has learned to help keep their streets and homes cleaner and greener, little by little.
After just a few months, Aling Marita encourages others to join Plastic Credit Exchange’s Aling Tindera waste-to-cash program not just for extra income, but in order to do something meaningful in the fight against plastic pollution at home and within the community.