In reaction to last week’s column on the plastic ban, Cecilia Hofmann of the Friends of the Environment in Negros Oriental sent this informative e-mail.
Hofman said that truly biodegradable plastic bags are not yet available in the Philippines. “The so-called biodegradable bags being distributed are still plastic to which additives (mostly chemicals) are added to bring about disintegration (after a period of many months, and only if they are exposed to air and sun). The resulting minute plastic particles remain in the soil, fresh or seawater,” she wrote.
She added that her organization and the Ecowaste Coalition are concerned about the growing use of the so-called biodegradable plastic bags.
Her comments made me look up a study conducted by the Department of Materials of Loughborough University in the United Kingdom. The study found that using additives to accelerate degradation “will not improve their (plastics) environmental impact.”
As reported in the university website, “The study highlighted the uncertainty about the impact of the plastics on the natural environment when they begin to break down into smaller pieces. It also raised concerns that these plastics are neither suitable for conventional recycling methods, due to the chemical additives, nor suitable for composting, due to the plastic not breaking down fast enough.”
Researcher Dr. Noreen Thomas added, “The overall conclusion of our report is that incorporation of additives into petroleum-based plastics that cause those plastics to undergo accelerated degradation does not improve the environmental impact and may give rise to certain negative effects.”
Reader Dondon Santos Jr. noted that food stalls had replaced plastic plates and cups with paper, which means there would still be a lot of solid waste to dispose of. To really protect the environment, he said food establishments should use reusable, washable plates, cups and utensils.
He added that local governments that had enforced a ban on the use of plastic should also look into how the regulations were being interpreted and implemented.
Selected Robinsons Supermarkets, in cooperation with Unilever Philippines, have an ongoing Wellness Mania campaign until the end of the year. It features a series of educational and experiential in-store activities in support of the supermarkets’ holistic wellness project.
Products in the wellness section are grouped into Health and Beauty, Happy Home, Delicious and Nutritious, and Share Happiness. Robinsons Supermarket customers can check out schedules for special activities and promotions to be conducted as part of the Wellness Mania campaign.
Ongoing right now is the Grand Kiddie Carnival that gives shoppers the chance to win trips to popular travel destinations for children, Universal Studios and Hong Kong Disneyland.
A P500 worth of purchase of products like powder milk and chocolate drinks entitles a customer to a raffle ticket that can win a trip to Singapore or Hong Kong on a Cebu Pacific flight. Promo is ongoing until Oct. 31. Draw date is Nov. 11.
Also ongoing until the end of the month is a wine and liquor festival. Every P300 worth of purchase of wine and spirits gets one raffle ticket that can win P100,000 in cash, among others. Grand draw is on Nov. 8.
World Bread Day begins Oct. 15 and ends Nov. 15. By buying bread or cupcake, customers can get big discounts on certain products. Ending on Oct. 15 is the Nestlé Prize surprise raffle promotion. Winners will be drawn on Oct. 25.
Several other promotions are ongoing simultaneously.
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