Bawal ang plastic: Kiko

Senator Francis Pangilinan has filed a Senate bill seeking to phase out single-use plastic products by prohibiting its importation, manufacture and use in food establishments, stores, markets, and retailers.

Senate Bill No. 40 or the Single-Use Plastics Regulation and Management Act of 2019 proposes to ban the use of all single-use plastics one year after the effectivity of the measure and to penalize those who will not enforce it.

Those who will re-use and recycle will receive an incentive.

The bill defines single-use plastics as those disposable plastic which are commonly used for plastic packaging and include items intended to be used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. These included items such as grocery bags, food packaging, films and bags, manufacturing water bottles, straws, stirrers, containers, Styrofoam/styros, cups, sachets, and plastic cutlery.

Pangilinan raised the problem of the country’s inability to manage waste efficiently which poses danger to the environment.

He cited a 2015 study by the United Nations Environment Programme entitled “Plastic Waste Inputs From Land Into Ocean” that showed that 81% of the 6,237,653 kilograms of plastic waste per day in the country is mismanaged.

“The mismanaged plastic waste per day is due to the sachet economy of the country and its problematic waste disposal,” the bill’s explanatory note said.

It added: “The sachet economy occurs because people buy many products in small amounts since they are cheaper.”

During the one year period after the bill becomes a law, the provision of single-use plastics by food establishments, stores, markets and retailers shall be prohibited; consumers shall be encouraged to use reusable materials; and, single-use plastics in circulation shall be collected, recycled, and properly disposed.

For each piece of single-use plastics already manufactured and in circulation, retailers shall charge the consumer a minimum levy of five pesos. The amount collected will have official receipts. Of the amount, 20% shall be kept by the business enterprise, while 80% shall be remitted on a regular basis to the Special Plastic Fund to be created under the bill.

For take-outs and selling of food and beverages, a discount of five pesos shall be given to consumers for bringing their own reusable or recyclable containers.

The importation of single-use plastics shall also be prohibited one year from the effectivity of the proposed law.

The bill also pitches for funding for research on alternatives to single-use packaging. Business enterprises, individuals, cooperatives, partnerships, and corporations which will engage in the manufacture of alternatives to single-use plastics shall be given incentives.

Those that will not heed the prohibition on the use of single-use plastics will be penalized with fines or cancellation of business permit.