January 2020: National Zero Waste Month
Presidential Proclamation no. 760 declaring January as the National Zero Waste Month was signed by President Benigno S. Aquino on May 15, 2014. This declaration has a purpose to remind Filipinos and the rest of the country to be mindful of waste generated.
The said proclamation was also pursuant to the Republic Act (RA) 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000. One of the highlight provisions of the RA is the proper segregation, collection, transport, storage, treatment including disposal of solid waste.
These decrees aim to encourage appropriate management of rubbish due to various crises the country faces in terms of garbage disposal.
The Philippines is the third-largest contributor to ocean pollution.
The Philippines is known to be the third-largest ocean pollutant after Indonesia as it produces two million tons of plastic waste per year. Approximate 800,000 tons of this said waste goes directly to the ocean.
Daily, the Philippines generates 43,684 tons of garbage and 4,609 tons of it is plastic waste. Such plastic dross came majorly from single-use plastics like sachets and those tetra packs.
These product packagings are influenced largely by the country’s penchant for ‘tingi’ that has become its current market culture.
To recount, there are only 139 operational sanitary landfills in the Philippines. These landfills are servicing only 308 of the nation’s 1,634 Local Government Units (LGUs). At least 425 illegal dumpsites are operating in the country; moreover, only 24 percent of the entire nation’s 42,036 villages had its functioning Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) – such given capacity or lack thereof are one of the causes of waste problems and health hazards.
What we are doing:
We, at Happy Shift, are aware of the current implications of solid waste to our environment most especially to our oceans and marine species. In 2019, all our deliveries throughout the Metro are plastic-free. Our parcels are recycled brown papers and we do not use plastic bubble wraps, even shredded papers. The latter, while made of recycled materials cannot be re-used any more.
We also refrain from using plastic tapes and shifted to using masking tape instead. Masking tapes are made from thin paper with adhesives. Currently, we are still looking for other and better ways to keep all purchased items secured without compromising our clients and the environment.
For orders outside Metro Manila, we are using cartons or boxes to deliver instead of the usual plastic parcel. We are in negotiation with our couriers to handle deliveries with extra care since we are emitting plastics entirely.
We still have a long way to go in our #plasticfree and #zerowaste journey. We are still improving deliveries as we do not want soaps to dent and get damaged in transit to our clients.
What we can do more:
We encourage everyone to dispose of their waste properly. Waste segregation and recycling or upcycling are highly supported. Let us not stop the yearning to learn more about how we can live sustainably and how we can further help our environment and our country in combatting the challenges regarding waste management.
We also believe that businesses especially huge firms or corporations should take a leap from using and producing single-use plastics to more sustainable packaging.
Together, we can make a difference. Let’s continue the #zerowaste journey.
Author: Shainne L. Hostalero, MDC
Last Updated: January 13, 2020; 4:58 PM
DENR (2014). January is National Zero-Waste Month: Time to do away with our “Throwaway Culture”. [Article] Retrieved from http://ncr.denr.gov.ph/index.php/about-us/history/87-regional-articles-default/349-national-zero-waste-month
National Solid Waste Management Commission (2017). 17th Anniversary of R.A. 9003 and Zero Waste Management Celebration. [Article] Retrieve from http://nswmc.emb.gov.ph/?p=1065
Romulo, R. (2019, July 5). Philippines: A Leader in Garbage. [News Article] Retrieved from https://www.philstar.com/business/2019/07/05/1932006/philippines-leader-garbage