Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has challenged supermarket chains and convenience stores nationwide to take the lead in the global campaign against single-use plastics by making it a part of their corporate social responsibility program.
De Lima also underscored the need for these business establishments to prioritize the selling of healthier food to the consumers.
“Business establishments must be at the forefront of this campaign to save our environment and our people by helping eliminate the use of single-use plastics and offering healthier food options in their stores,” she said.
In a latest study by environmental organization Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives last March 7, it was discovered that Filipinos use more than 163 million plastic sachet packets, 48 million shopping bags and 45 million thin film bags daily.
The organization, composed of more than 800 grassroots groups, networks, non-governmental organizations, has recommended the regulation of single-use plastic products and for companies to redesign products, packaging and delivery systems.
According to the lady Senator from Bicol, supermarkets and manufacturers should take an active role in reducing unnecessary use of single-use plastics by phasing out all hard-to-recycle plastic from food and other products.
“Supermarkets must also start using plastic-free packs and trays for its fruits and vegetable lines as a way of helping the campaign against single-use plastics,” she said.
As the Filipinos’ favorite destination for ready-to-consume food and drinks, convenience stores must also find ways to reduce use of single-use plastics in their products, she pointed out.
“Local manufacturers should also stop producing single-use plastics for packaging of food products and instead shift to other means that are friendly to the environment,” the former justice secretary said.
Apart from taking the lead in banning the use of single-use plastics, De Lima also urged business establishments, notably the convenience stores nationwide, to be mindful in serving quick-fixes food for their customers, especially among students. “Taking care of the environment also requires that they think of the health and nutrition of consumers, who should also be among their top priorities,” she said.
A recent Nielsen study revealed that more Filipino shoppers are choosing to buy meals in convenience stores due to their fast-paced lifestyle, with salty snacks or chips, hotdog, and carbonated drinks as among the best sellers.
De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, has encouraged the public to join the global fight against worsening plastic pollution by pushing for the ban of single-use plastics in the country.
She also called for a massive information campaign to increase public awareness and education on the negative effects of single-use plastics to the ecosystems.