FIELDNOTES


Producing Sustainable Straws

San Jose City, Phillipines - 13.08.2019

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Mark Gersava - Originally from Davao, Phillipines

The facility has been running since December 2018. The factory covers about 1000sqft.

In Mark’s own words, the factory is brings together a diverse community of marginalised communities . People with disabilities, out-of-school youth, marginalised indigenous people who have suffered through the separatist movements in the area.

They make bamboo straws, bamboo ice tea, bamboo coffee stirrers, and charcoal briquettes.

They’re solving the issues related to cutting down forests and plastic politics.

Presently, poor people go out to the jungle to cut old or original growth trees down to make charcoal to sell. Mark is trying to prevent that deforestation with bamboo charcoal.

20% of global deforestation is in the Philippines.

They also do reforestation, having planted 4000ha of bamboo.

100,000 units per month. Moving up to 1,000,000 per month

Straws are completely non plastic and reusable. Estimated cost of $5USD per unit.


Mark Has long history with bamboo. Growing up in the hill country, he and his friends would drink directly from the river with the help of bamboo straws.

Conflict in this area has only ceased in 2018. Marks principle is that - if they can be economically stable, then people will be peaceful.

The factory started with one person in 2017. Now it employs 12 full time producers and 37 part time harvesters. 49 full time staff will take the facility up to targeted capacity.

Mark started this factory with $200USD