Negrenses can now sip a cup of coffee without producing any trash in a store with a name that literally means “no wastage”.
A group of environmentalists in Negros Occidental established the first waste-free store, called “Wala Usik”, as part of their advocacy to create a model for a sustainable and environment-friendly social enterprise.
Wala Usik is a first of its kind in Negros Island, and located at Lacson Street in Brgy. Mandalagan.
The project, led by Negros-based nonprofit organization Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation Inc. (PRRCFI), aims to reduce trash from consumer good packaging and be a model for other shops, restaurants, and hotels in terms of reducing solid waste, executive director Dave Albao said yesterday.
PRRCFI is also behind the Danjugan Island Marine and Wildlife Camps, and Sea Waste Education to Eradicate Plastic (SWEEP).
“To be ‘zero-waste’ means we practice not to waste anything that is produced,” he said, adding, “Wala Usik is a study of circular economy where all materials are valued through recycling, upcycling, and avoiding unnecessary or unsustainable packaging”.
Aside from coffee and pastries, the store also offers household and personal care products like liquid shampoo, shampoo bars, body wash, liquid hand soap, dishwashing liquid, all-purpose cleaner and detergent made of organic materials.
Pastries were made by Bacolod-based foundations, Welcome Home Foundation and Give A Child A Future Foundation.
There are also stations for cooking oil, soy sauce, vinegar, rice, and coffee, reusables like cloth pads, straws and tumblers, as well as bamboo and upcycled items.
Albao said the store could also be used by social enterprises linked to conservation and community development for their workshops, demonstrations, or events.
A coffee bar where guests can make their own coffee by slow drip or either French- or aero-pressed, and pastries or snacks from other consigning social enterprises is also a feature in Wala Usik, and all its income will go to the PRRCFI community projects.
A recycling depot where guests can endorse cleaned and recovered materials, like PET and glass bottles, tin and aluminum cans, for forwarding to a processing facility is planned in the store, he said.
PRRCFI also targets to replicate it in eight sari-sari stores in their partner communities in Negros Island this year.
Albao said they plan to partner with the Provincial Economic Development and Investment Center to tap communities in Negros Occidental in sourcing out raw materials for the store.*
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