Aboitiz Power Corporation (AboitizPower) and its subsidiary, Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (Aboitiz Foundation), are spearheading the revolutionary Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities through Kaibigans (BRICK) Hub project, an ingenious solution that upcycles plastic waste and coal plant ash or fly ash, into high-value eco-bricks and eco-pavers.
Photo Insert: Journeying to Therma South's host community in Barangay Binugao, Davao, we witness an industrious worker contributing to the daily production of eco-pavers, boasting an astonishing strength almost nine times greater than traditional hollow blocks.
Eco-bricks are building bricks made from waste plastic sachets for use in building and construction. Eco-pavers are a specially designed type of interlocking brick that allow rainwater to drain between the bricks and reach the soil beneath. The water may then filter through the soil and recirculate safely into the local water supply.
By partnering with local communities, AboitizPower and Aboitiz Foundation are encouraging residents to collect and contribute their plastic waste through designated collection points and eco-stores.
In exchange for bags of plastic sachets, such as those from shampoo and coffee products, individuals can receive sacks of rice or school supplies.
The BRICK Hub purchases the collected plastic from these venues, transforming it into recycled building materials, in turn breathing new life into solid waste. Beyond promoting sustainable practices, the BRICK Hub also generates livelihood opportunities by hiring community members to produce the eco-bricks and eco-pavers.
The project's beneficiaries include Barangays Binugao and Inawayan in Davao del Sur, as well as barangays Bato, Awihao, and Cabitoonan in Toledo City, Cebu.
Green Antz Builders, Inc. (Green Antz), a social enterprise, serves as the project's technical partner, providing the eco-brick model and essential skills training to enable local communities to become proficient brick makers and installers.
Through a meticulous process, approximately 100 plastic sachets are combined with fly ash and a special mixture developed by Green Antz to create eco-bricks that are nine times stronger than typical hollow blocks.
AboitizPower's subsidiaries, Therma South, Inc. (TSI) which operates a 300-megawatt (MW) Davao baseload power plant located in Binugao, Toril, Davao City, and Therma Visayas, Inc. (TVI) which operates a 340-MW power plant in Barangay Bato, Toledo City, recover fly ash particles resulting from their electricity generation processes and provide them free of charge to the BRICK Hub operators in each respective community.
The utilization of fly ash as a 50% substitute for expensive cement helps drive down production costs. Additionally, fly ash is used for filling and finishing, resulting in a lower price per square meter compared to standard building supplies.
The United Kaibigan Multipurpose Cooperative and Income Credit Cooperative, supported by TSI, as well as the Toledo United Farmers, Fishermen and Women Workers (Tuffwow), supported by TVI, are responsible for selling these eco-friendly products.
In 2021 and 2022, TSI and TVI, in collaboration with the Aboitiz Foundation, initiated their respective versions of the project, with the goal of further expanding the BRICK Hub's partnerships and linkages.
This expansion includes exploring research and development initiatives to create more sustainable construction materials.
Given the remarkable strength and positive impact on waste management, several local government units have expressed interest in replicating the BRICK Hub project to support rapid infrastructure development in their areas.
With the BRICK Hub project, AboitizPower and Aboitiz Foundation are not only transforming waste into valuable resources but also paving the way for a greener, more sustainable future.