• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Dokkio Sidebar (from the makers of PBworks) is a Chrome extension that eliminates the need for endless browser tabs. You can search all your online stuff without any extra effort. And Sidebar was #1 on Product Hunt! Check out what people are saying by clicking here.


A Recycling Center for Poor Comunities 0708

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 3 months ago
A Recycling Center for Poor Communities
by Julia Choi




Description and Rationale




Trash is one of the biggest environmental issues in the Philippines. Almost everywhere you go, whether a city or a poor community, you will see trash covering the ground. Most of the times, both recyclable and non-recyclable trash are discarded together. They are all mixed together, causing the recyclable look non-recyclable. Bad smells and unpleasant views are affecting the people in the Philippines because of the many piles of trash. As trash stays in one place, it starts to smell. In some places, especially poor communities, the odor is so strong that a person would have to cover his/her nose, and try to hold his/her breath. Who enjoys seeing trash? Nobody. Trash and insects around it such as flies, cockroaches, rats, and mosquitoes make living conditions unpleasant. Sometimes, there is so much trash in the streets that you need to be observant toward where you step.

What is the trash’s impact on the environment, animals, and people? Is it harmful? Or is it beneficial to the community? Can animals get disease because of trash? Can people get disease? Does the presence of trash make people think that it is their fault? Or do people blame others because of this result? Does this motivate people to think of a solution?

Might there be a solution to the problem of trash in streets, especially in poor communities? Generally, people in the Philippines think this is a really serious problem yet most of them do not take any action to solve it. Why is that? Do they think this problem is not related to them nor their fault? Or do they just think that it is impossible to solve this problem? If beneficial uses of the recyclable trash are found, such as selling them to gain profit, reducing trash and making their communities look nicer, or making other goods out of the trash, what would be the best way(s) to communicate the findings to the people in poor communities?

The initial purpose of this project will be to research and find ways to recycle trash in poor communities and teach those solutions to the people in those communities (with the assistance of a Tagalog-speaking interpreter). These initial findings will help those people be able to keep their places clean and pleasant for themselves.

It is hoped that ways to handle and recycle trash might help improve and upgrade the environment of the Philippines, especially in poor communities through a more informed understanding of an abundant biological resource.

table of contents...



Common Names and Synonyms


Periplaneta americana is also called the domestic cockroach. To insect enthusiasts in the Philippines and many other English-speaking countries, it is also called the American cockroach. Other synonyms include Palmetto Bug, Waterbug, Bombay canary, and Ship cockroach (U.S.).




Kingdom:    Animalia (animals)

Phylum:      Arthropoda (jointed-foot invertebrates)

Class:         Insecta (insects)

Order:        Blattodea (cockroaches)

Family:       Blattidae (domestic cockroaches)

Genus:       Periplaneta (large cockroaches)

Species:     P. americana (American)


table of contents...


Morphology and Physical Description




Periplaneta americana adults grows to a length of 1 3/8 to 2 1/8 inches (34 – 53 mm). It is reddish brown except for a yellowish margin on the body region behind the head. It is known to be very mobile, and it also has wings which allow it to be quite a capable flier. Both sexes are fully winged. The wings of males extend beyond the tip of the abdomen, while females' do not. Immature cockroaches resemble adults except that they are wingless.

Early instars (or an insect in any one of its periods of postembryonic growth between molts) of P. americana nymphs are grayish brown dorsally, paler ventrally, and shiny. The cerci (or plural form of cercus: one of a pair of appendages at the rear of the abdomen of certain insects and other arthropods, serving as tactile organs) are thin, and distinctly narrowed from the base with length about 5 times the width. Later instars are reddish brown with lateral and posterior margins of the thorax and the sides of abdominal segments somewhat darker. The cerci are about the same as in the early instars. The widest segments are 2.5 times as wide as long. The antennae are brown.

The cockroach's walking pattern can be described as follows:

“The cyclic movement of a walking leg consists of two parts, the power stroke (also stance phase or support phase) and the return stroke (also swing phase or recovery phase). During the power stroke, the leg is on the ground where it can support and propel the body. In a forward-walking animal, this corresponds to a retraction movement of the leg. During the return stroke, the leg is lifted off the ground and swung to the starting position for the next power stroke.”


Despite its fairly large size, the insect can travel quickly and it can fit into small cracks and under doors. Cockroaches spend 75% of their time hiding themselves, squeezed into narrow cracks for safety.

A Periplaneta americana is considered one of the fastest running insects. In 1991, it registered a record speed of 3.36 m.p.h., or 50 body lengths per second in an experiment carried out at the University of California at Berkeley, USA.


table of contents...


Getting Food




Periplaneta americanas are omnivorous. They eat anything, including one another. But there are some exceptions.

“The list includes bark, leaves, paper, wool clothes, sugar, cheese, bread, oil, lemons, ink, soap, flesh, fish, leather, or their own cast-off skins and egg-capsules. Some of these items, such as cellulose, cannot be digested by normal means. However, like cows and other grazing animals, cockroaches have a symbiotic relationship with a bacteria that allows them to digest such substances. Although they feed on many kinds of food, they show a particular fondness for fermenting food.”





Female P. americana produce many different sex pheromones, such as periplanone-B, periplanone-A, germacradien-9-one, cresol, phenol, undecen, hexenal, cyclohexanedial, hexanoic acid, dodecalactone, pentanone, and octanone, to attract a suitable mate. Through the use of a spermatophore (or Capsule or packet enclosing sperm, produced by males of several invertebrate groups and a few vertebrates), which is sometimes eaten by the female because of its protein-rich nature, sperm transfer occurs. A female forms oothecae, or egg sacs once fertilization has occurred. Without fertilization, Parthenogenesis or egg production does occur, but eggs either fail to hatch, or produce only a few nymphs. After it is formed, the female deposits her ootheca within a few hours or up to 4 days. The ootheca is dark reddish to blackish brown and with length about 1.5 times the width, it about 3/8” (8 mm) long. Then with an oral secretion, it is dropped or glued to a suitable surface, usually in a crack of high relative humidity near a food source.

“On average, females produce 9-10 (range 6-14; maximum 90) oothecae, each containing 14-16 eggs. Developmental time (egg to adult) is greatly influenced by temperature, varying from 168-786+ days but averaging about 600 days under ordinary room conditions. During this time, they molt 10-13 times. Adult females live about 440 days (range 102-588; maximum 913) at ordinary room conditions(e.g. 70°F/20°C), but at 84°F/29°C, adult females live about 225 days (range 90-706), whereas adult males live about 200 days (range 90-362) at 84°F/29°C.”


The development of P. americana is hemimetabolous, meaning there is no major metamophosis. The nymphs look very much like small adults. Nymphs are given no parental care. Hatchling roaches are left to take care of themselves. The nymphs grow by molting and they go through about 13 molts before they reach the adult form. The next to last nymphal stage has wing pads, but only adult cockroaches have wings.


Environmental Factors


The proper-sized warm shelters with a high relative humidity which are located near food and water sources are most preferred by Periplaneta americanas. They are found in many different habitats. Although they generally live in moist areas, they can survive in dry areas if they have access to water. They prefer warm temperatures around 84 degrees Fahrenheit and do not tolerate cold. They die at temperatures below 15 degrees Fahrenheit, like in large commercial buildings such as restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, food processing plants, hospitals, etc., where cockroaches may infest food-storage and food-preparation areas, basements, and steam tunnels. They are also found, although not as commonly, in residences. During the summer months, they can be found outdoors in yards and alleys. In the United States this is the most common species found in city sewer systems. They can enter structures by being brought in, coming up from the sewer system via drains, or occasional mass migration from other structures, dumps, etc., during warm weather. However, due to moist and warm temperature of the Philippines, P. americanas are found almost everywhere, especially near piles of trash. They can carry disease from the piles of trash, such as food poisoning, dysentery, diarrhea, etc. So when predators like spiders eat cockroaches that carry any of those disease, even though are often too slow to catch the quick cockroach in a natural environment, the disease can be transmitted. More effective predators such as frogs, toads, and salamanders, Bermuda lizards, which are kept in the house to devour roaches, and human beings from Australia to China to Japan who have been known to eat roaches for nourishment or for medicinal value, have increasing possibilities of getting any of those disease, as more cockroaches are being infected, meaning this will have a huge impact on the entire food web.


table of contents...


Origin and Distribution


The American cockroach can also be found near various ports throughout the world. The insect is believed to have originated in Africa, but had become established in the southern U.S. by the time that it was given its name. Due to its travels via shipping and commerce between locations, Periplaneta americana is very common in tropical climates, like the Philippines and can be found in many locations throughout the world.


Importance to People


This species is harmful to humans, and its impact on human health and economies is huge. But the most dangerous part is that they can carry disease from sewage, trash, or etc. Many bacteria, viruses, fungi, and helminths, a number of them pathogenic to man, have been found in the American cockroach. American cockroaches can transmit a variety of bacterial disease such as food poisoning, dysentery or diarrhea by feeding on contaminated material, and then contacting people's food. Cockroaches are also the fourth most common allergen. Fifty to sixty percent of all atopic and asthmatic people show intense reactions to cockroach extract. In asthmatic children in severely infested homes, sensitivity to cockroach allergens may be as high as seventy-nine percent. The species also has a psychological impact on humans, in different regions in the world, definitely including the Philippines, causing anxiety and stress due to embarrassment and physical invasion,

However, people are trying to find ways to control the expanding population of the American cockroach, especially in a way that benefits people, such as for nourishment or for medicinal value.


Survivability and Endangered Status


The American cockroaches are considered pests, and there are no efforts being made to conserve them. However, due to their quickly expanding population, they are not threatened nor endangered. It may be carrying disease from trash that threatens people’s lives in the Philippines, such as food poisoning, dysentery, or diarrhea. The easiest and cheapest, in other words, the best way to limit the population of Periplaneta americana is by keeping places clean. Remember to put trash in trashcans, reduce the amount of trash, and also recycle trash! Just by doing that, the population of the American cockroach will be lessen.


table of contents...


Potential Solutions


Will the recycling center be effective for the poor communities? It has not been experimented at this point whether the recycling center will make the poor communities clean and pleasant or not have any influence on the environment. Further research and field studies about the problem of trash and the materials that are commonly found in the poor communities are necessary before determining if a recycling center can make a huge change in the environment of the poor communities and make them better for the sake of the people living in them or is something totally useless because it is too hard to make or just is unnecessary for the poor communities. Below are 3 possibilities with an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages for each. Along with each possibility is a current status report of progress made to date on each of the possibilities.


Possibility 1 - WOOD



In a blog website, there were instructions on how to make an easy-to-make recycling center. The only materials needed to make this, are wood, nails, and a hammer. With the nails and the hammer, the pieces of wood are put together, making a box. After making a few boxes, labeling them with different names of recyclable materials is also very important.



1. This is very easy to make, and will not require a lot of time and effort.

2. Unlike the other recycling centers, this is very simple to make. Just like the instructions above, only a few materials are needed.

3. Because this does not require a lot of materials, this is affordable for anyone.



1. Since it is hard to make this heavy recycling center float in the air, this and the trash inside will touch the ground. This will provide a better and more suitable environment for unpleasant creatures that may carry disease, such as cockroaches and rats.

2. When it rains, the wood will soak the rainwater and the rainwater will leak into the trash. This may cause an odor around the recycling center. Also, there is a possibility that the wood will start rotting.


table of contents...


Possibility 2 - COCO LUMBERS AND RICE BAGS (My Action Step)


With the idea of Zero Waste Management, which I was introduced to, through Mr. Matthew Reed Bugbee, a biology teacher at Faith Academy, an international school in Manila, Philippines, I was able to make a recycling center with an affordable price for anyone, including the people in poor communities. I used coco lumbers, which are very common in the Philippines and very easy for people to find, or can be purchased at a price of 48 pesos (US $ 1.13) for 0.6x0.6x8 feet as the stand for the recycling center, a saw, to cut the coco lumbers into different sizes I wanted, nails and a hammer, to put the pieces of coco lumbers together, rice bags, which are something that people use everyday and can be used again as the bags for collecting different kinds of trash, or can be purchased at a price of 5 pesos (US $ 0.12) per bag, hooks, which can be made from nails, or can be purchased at a price of 1.50 pesos (US $ 0.04), to hang the rice bags onto the stand so that they wouldn’t touch the ground and reduce the population of creatures that may carry disease and harm people such as cockroaches and rats, and a marker, which I used to label the bags with different names of materials such as paper, plastic, metal, glass, and other recyclables. When a rice bag is already filled, the people can just replace it with another empty rice bag.


Me working very hard


I wrote a letter to Mrs. Isabelita Gravides, the Barangay Captain of Daan Tubo, which my church is ministering to, to get a permission to set the recycling center and teach the people how and why they have to make and use the recycling center. While I was waiting for her permission in her office, I was able to interview Mrs. Isabelita A. Ledesma, a Barangay Kagawad. When I asked her what she thinks about the problem of trash in Daan Tubo, she said that the trash is a huge problem in that Barangay, especially when it rains. After I got permission from the Barangay Captain, Mrs. Isabelita Gravides, I set an appointment with Gilbert Palma, the leader of the people of Daan Tubo to go and teach the people. When I went there, I found a place, where I saw the most trash, and dug four little holes for the legs of the recycling center. Then I filled and covered them with soil and rocks so that it would help the recycling center to stand more firmly and strongly. I picked up some trash in the place with the help of some people in Daan Tubo and showed the people how to separate the trash and put them in different rice bags according to their materials. I also told them how this can change their whole community and the benefits they can get out of this, such as income from selling the recyclable materials, cleaner environment, and being able to make new products out of them.



Picking up the trash ---------------------------------------> Tired after separating different kinds of trash




Happy after finish making the recycling center ----------------------> With the people who helped me



BEFORE -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> AFTER


Although the recycling center would require some effort of the people, this has shown a huge change in an area of the community. It seems clear that the recycling center can improve the environment of the Philippines, especially of the poor communities.



1. All the materials need to make this are affordable for anyone, including the people in poor communities.

2. The procedures are very easy. Anyone can make this without any problem.

3. When a rice bag is full, it can be replaced with another empty rice bag. This recycling center can be used for a long time.



1. When it rains, since the bags don’t have coverings, the trash will get wet and may cause an odor around the place, where the recycling center is place.

2. Even though rice bags are cheap, the people would have to replace them whenever they are full.





In relating to my recycling center to Mrs. Marghieth Garcia-Vergara, a project development officer of Resources, Environment, and Economics Center, an organization that researches and gathers data for other organizations or the government to help people see different options and the results they could bring so that they would make the right choices, I learned that she would like to use our wiki site – http://ecop.pbwiki.com/ – when they research about topics which the students at Faith Academy have already researched on. She also said, “If one of our clients like World Band or UN hire us to make a study on recycling, then we can use your study and then quote you.”



When God gave us the earth, He told us to subdue and rule over it (Genesis 1:28). But rather than taking care of the earth, people display a reckless courage and destroy it. Because of the piles of trash which are caused by the unconscious actions of people, a lot of natural resources are being drained and people are suffering from more diseases. These problems will continue to aggravate in the future. I strongly thought that the recycling center would help the natural resources and the environment to be in a better state, especially in poor communities where more trash is found than in the cities. This has been proved right through my action step. I pray that my Environmental Challenges of the Philippines (ECOP) project would help people do what pleases God.


table of contents...




“American Cockroach.” Answers.com. 5 April 2008.


“American Cockroach.” Wikipedia.org. 5 April 2008.


Bugbee, Mr. Matthew R. Personal Conversation. 24 April 2008.

Garcia-Vergara, Mrs. Marghieth. Personal Interview. 2 May 2008.

“How to Start or Expand A Recycling Collection Program.” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 19 April 2008.


Ledesma, Barangay Kagawad. Isabelita A. Personal Interview. 2 May 2008.

“Making a Recycling Center.” A Starting Point for Happiness. 19 April 2008.


“Periplaneta Americana.” Animal Diversity Web. 5 April 2008.


“Periplaneta Americana.” Thefreedictionary.com. 5 April 2008.




table of contents...

Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.