The Philippines, one of the world’s top plastic polluters, is trying to address this pressing issue by building much-needed infrastructure with plastic waste. Several Philippine companies, including San Miguel Corp. and Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. are using discarded shopping bags, sachet wrappers, and plastic packaging to power cement plants and build roads. The first road built using a combination of plastic scraps and asphalt has just been laid down by San Miguel Corp, with nearly 2,000 pounds of plastic used to pave a 16,000-square-foot site.

According to studies by San Miguel, roads built using plastic scraps actually exceed government standards and are even more durable than those built with asphalt.

The main targets of this initiative are soft plastics that are difficult to recycle and which comprise a significant portion of the trash found in Philippine landfills and waterways.

San Miguel Corp sourced the trash from Nestle and Unilever, two companies that have launched a plastic trash collection program in the country. According to Bloomberg Green, they offer free products in exchange for clean and cut plastic waste. Nestlé is currently the second biggest plastic polluter in the world, behind Coke.

The country’s issues are linked to a subpar waste management system, which has failed to keep up with a growing population and increased consumption. The infrastructure program will hopefully negate some of the country’s waste, as more highways, bridges, and dams continue to be built.