Money was the primary reason why my husband got into recycling. It comes as a shock for many, including myself, to hear my husband confess that. Money before concern for the environment? No way!
My husband, Orange, always a curious fellow, encountered a man with a kariton (pushcart) with all sorts of junk — your typical diyaryo-bote guy that you see in the streets.
The man buys junk from the household, and later brings it to the junk shop and sells it for a profit. An occupation usually shunned by most, he is able to support a family of five. I doubt if the family lives lavishly, but yes, he most likely earns more than the minimum wage.
So, Orange started collecting kalakal on his own. And honestly, he was into collecting rubbish to augment his income when he was still in politics, and now even I’m hooked.
We don’t buy junk. We just collect them, and luckily, we have a space big enough in Cavite to store all our junk, (thanks to our Aguinaldo family for putting up with our bodega) before we sell them to the junk shop. The junk shop goes to the family house in Cavite to buy what we’ve collected. We have an option to wait until prices of scrap go up before selling. Unfortunately, the diyaryo-bote man does not have the same luxury because he needs to sell what he collects the same day to provide for food on the table.
How much does a piece of junk sell for? Below is how much we sell our recyclables to the junk shop.
- PET (Plastic bottles like mineral water) — P22 per kilo
- Cleaned PET bottles — P38 per kilo
- White paper — P11 per kilo
- Carton/box — P6 per kilo
- Waste like medicine boxes, cartolina, intermediate pad waste — P2.50 per kilo
- Magazines — P5 per kilo
- Aluminum cans — P45 per kilo
- Hard plastic also known as sibak (like old toys fabric softener and cooking oil containers) — P14 per kilo
- Newspaper — P10 per kilo
- Glass bottles (gin bilog) — P2 for three piece
- Long-neck bottles — P1.50 each
- Broken glass — P1 per kilo
- Iron/yero — P11 per kilo
- CDs — P50 per kilo
- Copper (from wires of appliance) — P295 per kilo
- e-waste (broken down appliances) sells per piece
- Refrigerator — P700
- Washing machine — P300
- Electric fan — P80
- TV — P120
- Motherboard computer — P250 per kilo
If you dismantle the appliance yourself and sell its parts, you will even earn more.
It may not sound much to some, but for something you get for free, it’s quite a good deal
By the way, even styrofoam polysterene and other plastics can be recycled into plastic pellets.The plastic manufacturers in the Philippines pay an incentive of P3 per kilo for it.
Interestingly enough, while the government still encourages the public to segregate, Orange observed following dump trucks that there hang several sacks on roving dump trucks. Our neighborhood basurero, on their own, have a system in place because they sell and make extra money by segregating it themselves!
Even our leftover food can be sold as kaning baboy. I hope you didn’t lose your appetite.
In a baranggay in Quezon City, for example, residents bring their kalakal to their local Materials Recovery Facility or MRF, in exchange for stamps that you can collect in exchange for items like laundry soap
My husband advocates pera sa basura as a mindset in order to “save” the environment.Realistically speaking, when we talk about global warming and the inconvenient truth, and the ozone layer trapping all the carbon emissions, or earth hour, there is still a small margin of our population heeding the call to environmental awareness. But when you talk about income-generating basura, especially among the poor, then maybe, we might just have a better chance at creating awareness and for people to actively take part. We fight hunger and poverty, and we conserve the environment.
Meanwhile, come June 12, we are celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary.
When my husband started courting me, the first thing he disclosed is that he is a basurero, lest I mistake him for a haciendero given that he has a prominent surname, Aguinaldo. And true enough, this is what he does, busying himself by segregating our recyclables, mano-mano, for a couple of hours a day.
When Orange was still a municipal Vice Mayor in Kawit, Cavite, I remember distinctly what he told me about the dirty work of recycling: “It keeps me humble, when people mistake me for a basurero.” Or sometimes, kargador because he was loading some scrap into the elevator of some building.
Asawa, thank you for the past four happy years. I must say, marrying a mangangalakal is one of the best decisions of my life. When you see value in something deemed as garbage, then how much beautiful is everything else?