After supertyphoon Ondoy, it seemed like Filipinos would finally realize that they could not use plastic as mindlessly and careless as they did.
There was no getting around the fact that because plastic clogged waterways and drains, the floods caused by Ondoy stayed longer and caused more destruction.
But, in typical Filipino ningas-kugon mentality, concern about the proper disposal of plastic disappeared even before people could fully resume their normal lives after the disaster. And, as subsequent typhoons in Metro Manila have not been as devastating as Ondoy, will probably not be remembered until another supertyphoon hits.
But @Greenpeace, the environmental organization, does not want to wait for another calamity to remind Filipinos how destructive plastic is. As this is Plastic Free July, it offers several ways to start reducing the use of plastic.
- Redo your habits. Though it may be difficult, we need to lessen our use of plastic. When shopping, bring reusable bags and/or containers. When eating out, use your own utensils, your own cup or mug or reusable straw. Remember to take your reusables with you when you go out so you will have less need for plastic.
Greenpeace will even reward you for your effort. Post your photos or videos on Facebook, Instagram or TikTok and tag @greenpeaceph for a chance to win gift cards!
- Do away with plastic bags and products and look for sustainable alternatives. Patronize establishments that pursue sustainability like zero-waste stores and restaurants. Refuse products packaged in sachets and opt for refills.
- Call out plastic polluters and challenge them. Everybody has a stake in keeping our environment plastic-free. Your efforts at reducing your reliance on plastic will not accomplish much if other people do not change their habits.
“[P]ut the challenge where it belongs: on big plastic polluting brands to invest in Reuse and Refill! Tell Coke, Pepsi, Nestle and Unilever to commit to 50 percent reusable packaging by 2030,” says Greenpeace. “Demand from these big corporations to stop producing single-use plastics and invest in sustainable, reusable ways to deliver their products.”
Fortunately, businesses and commercial establishments are now taking the path to sustainability.
The @SM retail group, for instance, launched recently Green Finds, a collection of products that promote clean beauty, sustainable fashion, green technology and eco-friendly home tools. The SM Green Finds badge means products are made from natural ingredients and are sustainably crafted and produced.
At a recent event in General Trias, Cavite, Tony del Rosario, president of @Coca-Cola Philippines and vice president for East Franchise Operations of Coca-Cola Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and South Pacific, said the beverage company had a strong commitment to solving the plastic waste problem as it recognized “our responsibility to help address waste issues. In 2018, we resolved to recycle every bottle and can we sold by 2020.”
Coca-Cola is pursuing the goal of World Without Waste.
The @Mango Tree Philippines restaurant chain has developed a farm-to-table menu that uses freshly harvested produce from nearby farms. Instead of finding the exact ingredients for a recipe, a dish is created depending on the ingredients available.
Eric Teng, president and chief executive officer of Mango Tree Philippines and president of the Restaurant Owners of the Philippines (Resto PH), says the new farm-to-table menu is part of the chain’s pursuit of the goals of sustainability, or conserving and preserving resources to leave enough for the future; and food security.