Ban on single-use plastic, not possible sans replacement — Sen. Villar

Marje Pelayo   •   February 18, 2020   •   344

MANILA, Philippines – Without replacement, it is impossible to ban single-use plastic in the Philippines.

This was the argument of Senator Cynthia Villar during a Senate inquiry on Tuesday (February 18) on the proposed ban on single-use plastic.

She argued that most utility bags nowadays are made from non-recyclable materials which usually end up as trash.

But without an alternative, they cannot be banned.

Wala naman akong nadidinig na (I have not heard of any) replacement for single-use plastics,” the lady senator said.

“What we want is for them to recycle,” she added.

But according to the Philippine Alliance for Recycling and Materials (PARMS), people tend to recycle plastic bags and containers made of polystyrene foam as compared to paper containers that are coated with wax and are not fully biodegradable.

“The problem with paper is that if it gets contaminated with other wastes, it is no longer recyclable. Any paper that comes in contact with food becomes non-recyclable already,” said PARMS President Crispian Lao.

Thus, Villar wants to strengthen the government’s campaign on recycling particularly in the local government as well as in big manufacturing companies in the country.

Based on record of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the country yielded more than 21 million metric tons of trash last year.

Only 52% of the said volume was biodegradable while 27% was recyclable materials including plastics.

Villar called on manufacturing firms to offer incentives that would encourage communities and the LGUs to join in recycling efforts.

Several firms, on their part, said they already have existing programs that support the government’s recycling advocacy.

“We join ‘cash for trash’ programs. We give condiments, rulers, pencils to encourage people,” noted Henry Gaw of the Polystyrene Packaging Council of the Philippines.

“Coca-cola is investing in a PET bottle recycling facility locally. We target the completion of operation by 2021,” expressed Atty. Marc Cox, Stakeholder Relations Manager, Coca-Cola Phils.

“The company’s program is to achieve plastic neutrality. Whatever we sell, we will recover within the shortest possible time,” Atty. Ernesto Mascenon, Nestle Philippines Inc.’s Senior Vice President.

Villar said DENR has allotted P1-B for the construction of a plastic recycling factory and composting facility in each municipality across the country.

The senator also proposed that recycling education may be included in school curriculum nationwide. MNP (with details from Harlene Delgado)

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