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The Story of Plastic

South Australia has led the way in many environmental issues.. from cash for containers for many years, to renewable energy and storage. Now it has become the first state to ban single-use plastics in Australia.

"Single-use plastic were introduced to the Philippines in my lifetime. I hope they will be eliminated within my lifetime as well." This can be done on a personal level, and can be inculcated in Filipinos. With enough awareness and information, conversations can result in collective action that can influence policymakers and businesses.

“When we throw something away, there is no ‘away.’

The Philippines is the third biggest source of plastic ocean pollution because global corporations are locking us into cheap, disposable plastics, rather than innovating and finding solutions,” These corporations are the missing piece in the global fight against plastic pollution. Citizens are burdened with the social and environmental impacts of plastic waste, rather than those that are responsible.

Developing countries, such as the Philippines, run on a “sachet economy,” which encourages the practice of buying fast moving consumer goods (FMCGs) in small quantities. This drives market and profit share for most companies by making it more accessible to people with limited incomes.  However, low-value single-use sachets are not collected by waste pickers and usually end up in landfills or scattered indiscriminately as litter in the streets or marine debris.

These are the companies that have been found most responsible for plastic pollution in the Philippines:

  1. Nestle

  2. Unilever

  3. PT Torabika Mayora

  4. Universal Robina Corporation

  5. Procter & Gamble

  6. Nutri-Asia

  7. Monde Nissin

  8. Zesto

  9. Colgate Palmolive

  10. Liwayway

It’s time these companies stop business-as-usual and use their resources to innovate and redesign their packaging and delivery solutions. They could for instance practice extended producer responsibility where companies substitute non-reusable and non-recyclable products with new systems, such as refillables – prevention instead of end-of-pipe waste management. In the long term they’ll see this will yield strong environmental and economic benefits.

The Philippines ranks as the third worst polluter of the world’s oceans, with China as number one. In a study, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia also fall in the list of top 10 countries with mismanaged plastic waste. While their economies are growing, this new-found spending power has led to ‘exploding demand for consumer products that has not yet been met with a commensurate waste-management infrastructure.’

I hope that this insight into the life cycle of plastic leads more people to understand why it´s so important to limit your plastic consumption whenever feasible. It’s essential for individuals to be more conscious of how much waste humans actually produce and I hope this serves as a rude awakening for some that they need to shift their habits (no matter how small!) to be more mindful and conscious of how their actions impact the planet.

We’re so used to the alleged ‘convenience’ and ‘efficiency’ of plastic, because it’s cheap and easy to dump. We have to go back to the basics. In the end, all this convenience will cost more, for us and for our children.

- děti

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