MANILA - Several environmental groups are pushing for a circular economy model to help solve the plastic crisis in the Philippines.
At a forum in Quezon City, Nazrin Castro, Manager of The Climate Reality Project Philippines, said there is a need to shift to a circular economy model wherein there is not much waste because products are recycled in a sustainable manner.
The group said it may sound simple but it should be done by all sectors—the government, the businesses and individuals.
They added that companies, for example, must do their share in protecting the environment by also making sure their products do not go directly to the trash or the sea.
"A circular economy can help avoid excessive consumption, wastes, and use of fossil fuels by reusing, repairing and recycling existing materials and products," said Castro.
Dindo Manhit, President of Stratbase ADR Institute who organized the forum, said "something we use and waste should be recycled and used again, but it takes a lot of effort from all sectors of society."
Alexander Cabrera, vice president of the Management Association of the Philippines, agreed and said companies must be given incentives and must be ordered to comply with environmental protection efforts.
"That compulsion will force people to reinvent their packaging because they don't want to pay tax," Cabrera said.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) also agreed with ways to lessen plastic usage and to push for proper waste management.
DENR Usec. Carlos Primo David, however, said one cannot just order to stop using plastics and use paper instead.
"The flipside to having, for example, paper as our packaging material would probably be on the safety side of the food that we consume. It's probably not the role of DENR, but I agree some push must come from the government towards the right direction," said David.
The DENR and the environmental groups vow to work together to push for this circular economy model.
One good start they say is the new law—Extended Producer Responsibility Act which holds companies responsible for the plastic packaging they use.
The groups also welcome the latest Pulse Asia survey revealing that 8 out of 10 respondents prefer to buy products from companies they think are environment-friendly.
A 2019 study by the environmental group GAIA shows that 164 million sachets are used by Filipinos every day.