With the world in full swing, so is our waste use. Even after many food chains, restaurants, and cafes transitioned from serving plastic straws to paper straws –the problem remains.
Pollution is a problem all over the globe, and it’s not just landfills and sewers that are being filled up with trash. The effects of our use of plastics and other non-biodegradable waste is taking a toll on the ocean.
A study cited that the Philippines contributes around 0.28 to 0.75 million tonnes of plastic per year, making it one of the worst offenders of marine plastic pollution.
While environmental protection programs are set in place by the government to reach its goal of 60% recovery and recycling of plastic by 2030, how can we contribute to reducing ocean-bound plastic waste?
We’ve come up with practical ideas that we can do every day to help.
Bring washable containers and cups when eating or drinking out.
Most restaurants serve food with washable plates, glasses, and utensils. The problem comes in when we eat in fast-food restaurants or basically anywhere which has a high turnover of orders and take out.
As an alternative to them packing food in their usual to-go containers, offer your reusable ones. There are places like certain coffee chains that offer discounts to those who will bring in their own tumblers, making it a win-win situation for both you and the store—all while helping save the environment from one less plastic in the dump.
Always carry eco-bags with you.
Whether you’re on a last-minute grocery run or you just found something to buy in the department store, having an eco-bag is always a good idea.
Instead of having your items packed in the store’s plastic bag, offer your eco-bag. It’s also sturdier so no need to wrestle through multiple plastic bags in each hand.
Support brands that promote sustainability.
As a consumer, you can make informed choices by researching brands online and trying to purchase brands that are more sustainable. It is reassuring to know if the brands you support are taking action to reduce their plastic footprint.
Cleene Ethyl Alcohol, for instance, is a trusted Filipino brand that provides affordable and high-quality products from Philusa Corporation. They have partnered with Plastic Bank, a social enterprise that supports ethical collection communities to stop ocean-bound plastic.
The brand recently launched the “Towards a Cleener Philippines” campaign to encourage the public to be more mindful of the environment. It also aims to promote adopting a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
According to Cleene, they aim to prevent the equivalent of 1.25 million plastic bottles from entering the ocean. The brand is turning this goal into reality by partnering with Plastic Bank to fund the collection of plastic and has also provided over 600 health kits to collection members and their families.
Danilo Jarebejo Osoria, a 68-year-old from Valenzuela, is one of the Plastic Bank collection members. He said that joining gave him a livelihood that helps him support his family.
“Napakaganda po ng karanasan ko rito. Lalo na kapag uuwi ako, may uwi akong pang-ulam namin. Lubhang napakalaking tulong nito sa pamilya ko.”
He hopes that the program will last a long time in order for more people to benefit from it. Osoria added that anyone can take part in taking care of the environment, through ways such as avoiding the burning of trash which can harm the ozone layer.
“Ako po ay galit na galit sa mga nagsusunog ng basura dito sa amin, dahil masama sa ozone layer natin. Pinagsasabihan ko nga po yung mga nakikita kong nagsusunog ng basura [dahil] masama ang epekto nito,” he added.
As Cleene builds a long-lasting relationship with Plastic Bank, they have also partnered with Manila Water Foundation, Earth Day Jam, Global Handwashing Day, and World Toilet Day.
“It has always been our main goal to be a socially and environmentally mindful company. In addition to the fact that we need to have a viable business, we likewise need to protect our environment and serve the communities by making a move that will have a positive impact on our fellow Filipinos,” said Philusa Corporation President and General Manager Neogin Evangelista.
The company is set to release several sustainable products in the coming months, and it was reported that some of its products are supplied from those practicing responsible forestry.