Invisible no more


 

Plastic bags had been receiving negative press recently for their contribution in the still-growing solid waste problem in the Philippines, prompting cities to ban their use in shops and restaurants. However, all hope is not lost for the battle-weary plastic bag.

Last February 23, the Invisible Collection was launched at the Ayala Museum Plaza. The event marked the partnership of the Invisible Sisters, the Philippine Plastic Industry Association (PPIA), Ayala Foundation (AFI), and the Ayala Malls group together with the Ayala Property Management Corporation (APMC), to ensure the recovery and proper disposal and recycling of plastic bags. The program benefits the Invisible Sisters, a marginalized group of women who crochet and knit discarded plastic bags and turn them into new creations.

Mr. Guillermo Luz, EVP and COO of Ayala Foundation, welcomed guests represented by national government agencies and local government units. Private organizations and individuals graced the event as well. Ann Wizer, founder of the Invisible Sisters, regaled the guests how and why the Invisible project came to be. The PPIA President and Commissioner of the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) Crispian Lao and Ms. Emelita Aguinaldo, OIC Executive Director of the NSWMC both lauded the plastic recovery project as a viable means in preventing plastic wastes from ending up in landfills. Councilor Tosca Puno of Makati City also expressed her support for the project. In a ceremonial turn-over, representatives of the Ayala Malls group and APMC headed by Javi Hernandez and Erickberth Calupe respectively, together with Mr. Luz of AFI received the Invisible Collection bins which will be deployed in Ayala Malls and select APMC managed buildings.

The Invisible Sisters, organized by the artist and environmentalist Ann Wizer, started in 2008. These women were trained weekly to hone their crocheting and knitting skills using material that's considered invisible but is readily available -trash. By working with garbage bags, wires, and video casette films, the group created bags and artworks generating income for the women and their families while helping them find their self worth in their newly rediscovered craft.

While the Invisible Collection ensures a steady supply of raw materials for the Invisible Sisters, a bigger audience will benefit from the project - the everyday person. With bins located in different areas of Metro Manila - from Muntinlupa, to Makati, to Quezon City and Taguig, a wider audience will be served ensuring that accumulated plastic bags can be discarded with the assurance that these will be properly collected and recycled. As part of the partnership agreement, plastics collected but not usable by the Invisible Sisters will be recycled into new plastic products by members of the PPIA.

The Invisible Collectin bins can be found at the following Ayala Malls and Ayala Properties: Alabang Town Center , Glorietta, Market! Market!, Serendra, TriNoma, and at The Residences at Greenbelt. Plastic bags may also be dropped off at the Recyclable Fairs.

The Invisible Sisters are open and willing to collaborate on projects. To learn more about the Invisible Sisters, you may visit their website at www.invisiblesisters.org.




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