Coalition tackles eliminating plastic pollution

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A coalition which includes corporate users of plastic packaging is working on addressing the problems caused by plastic waste.

The Philippine Alliance for Recycling and Materials Sustainability (PARMS), whose members include corporations involved in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), large industry groups, and environmental NGOs, and supported by the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), released a statement on Friday saying that they are embarking on “various initiatives that look at comprehensive ways to address the challenge of plastic waste.”

PARMS President and NSWMC chief Crispian N. Lao said that “Industry players are currently focusing their efforts on looking for ways to collect plastic wastes and to find ways to recycle and repurpose these, as well as increase recylcing rates.

“It is also crucial to create a market for valuable recycled plastics or recycled material,” he said. “The industry is doing its share in trying to redesign its products and applications, so that we move away from disposable single-use toward recyclable single-use.”

When it comes to dealing with the popular single-use sachets, PARMS says that infrastructure to recycle this form of packaging will be set up. In addition to this, investment will be made in new technologies like CreaSolv, which breaks down the complex polymers in sachets so the plastics can be reused.

“PARMS will be putting up a facility in Parañaque City. We will take whatever the recyclers are not accepting. We will study this material and convert it into valuable products,” Mr. Lao was quoted as saying in the PARMS statement.

The coalition last year said that it would build a P25-million recycling facility in Parañaque City which can process as least 150 metric tons of plastic sachets.

“The technologies are there and need not be expensive. What needs to be done are smaller business models that can work and provide livelihood for the people on the ground,” said Mr. Lao

Already PARMS members have been making their product packaging more light weight, and introducing packaging designs that can be refilled. As a short to medium-term solution, coalition members are also looking into developing 100% recyclable packaging materials and reducing the plastic used in packaged goods.

According to the statement from PARMS, plastic packaging has led to $13 billion to $75 billion worth of damage to the environment.

PARMS has come up with partnerships with public schools to address waste reduction and recovery programs, and expects to expand these partnerships with hotels, retail and food and beverage establishments. This will be complemented by information and educational campaigns promoting proper disposal, recovery, and treatment.

The NSWMC-supported organization is composed of various global and local companies such as Coca-Cola System, Liwayway Marketing Corp., Monde Nissin Corp., Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines, Inc., Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and Universal Robina Corp.

Industry groups Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Philippine Plastics Industry Association and non-government organizations Zero Waste Recycling Movements and Philippine Business are also members of PARMS. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato