TODAY: Activists Deliver Nearly 70,000 Petition Signatures to President of EU Council Köstinger, Urging EU to Pass Ambitious EU Plastics Directive

TODAY: Activists Deliver Nearly 70,000 Petition Signatures to President of EU Council Köstinger, Urging EU to Pass Ambitious EU Plastics Directive

SumOfUs, Global2000 and #aufstehn demand EU plastics directive not be weakened at the last moment

Vienna, 5 Dezember 2018 – Today, Global consumer group SumOfUs, environmental organisation Global 2000 and the activist group #aufstehn delivered a petition with nearly 70,000 signatures to Elisabeth Köstinger, President of the EU Council, asking her to ensure that the EU Plastics Directive is passed in order to reduce single-use plastics and makes corporations pay for the plastic waste they are responsible for.

View the petition here: https://actions.sumofus.org/a/eu-plastikgesetz

The EU Plastics Directive aims at drastically reducing pollution from single-use plastics in the oceans and the environment. Important details of the directive are still discussed, namely reduction goals and quotas, as well as how businesses will be held accountable and have to pay for the plastic waste they produce.

“We need to make sure that this ambitious plastics directive is not weakened at the last moment because of corporate lobbying,” said Eoin Dubsky, Campaign Manager for SumOfUs.

“We are urging Secretary Köstinger to follow through on fighting plastic waste and use the next two years,” added Lisa Kernegger of Global 2000. “In order to make sure that happens, we need  to make sure that the EU has a strong plastics directive without weak compromises for wealthy corporations. Any implementation of this directive can only be as good as the policies within it . This is true for Austria, and of course for the rest of Europe.”.

“We’ve fought hard for a strict plastics directive over for the last several few months. Köstinger is the Austrian environmental secretary, and now it’s her chance to make sure this law won’t be watered down”, said Johanna Morandell of #aufstehn.

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Silliman University Commits to Zero Waste and Sustainability

Silliman University Commits to Zero Waste and Sustainability

Dumaguete, Philippines – Silliman University (SU), a private university in the central part of the Philippines, is implementing a new policy that eliminates single-use plastic bags and aims towards Zero Waste, the first university in the country to do so. SU’s new environmental policy was approved unanimously by its Board of Trustees (BOT) on November 17.

 

The university’s commitment to the prevention of environmental pollution, conservation and enhancement of natural resources, and sustainability is defined in the Environmental Principles, Policies, Guidelines and Best Practices that the SU BOT has adopted in full.

 

SU’s environmental policy will translate to action the university’s recognition of its calling to be a community of stewards of creation, and is in line with its perspective of “total human development for the well-being of society and environment.” The university seeks to be a model of a sustainable campus “by demonstrating the principles of Zero Waste, the waste management hierarchy, energy conservation and renewable energy utilization, biodiversity conservation, and a reduced carbon footprint.” 

 

The policy provides for the application of environmental principles in five policy areas: waste prevention and management, green procurement, food and food waste, events and festivals, and greening of the campus. It reiterates the university’s belief that everyone is a stakeholder and has a role to play in sustainability, and therefore “engages the whole Silliman community, the city we live in, and beyond.”

 

By being a model and incorporating environmental issues into its teaching, research, and community service, Silliman hopes that students entering the university will leave with a deeper commitment to sustainability and with the competence to protect the environment wherever their lives may take them.

 

One immediate focus of Silliman University starting this semester is to improve on-campus waste management, announced SU president Betty Cernol-McCann during the All-University Academic Convocation on November 19.

 

“The practice of proper waste management in the University shall be effective immediately,” said Dr. McCann. “Henceforth, all trash cans will be properly labeled and faculty, staff, and students will be asked to segregate waste accordingly. Waste Management Committee members and volunteers will visit each building to label bins and provide instructions on segregation.” All biodegradable wastes from the campus, she said, will be composted with the assistance of the College of Agriculture. Meanwhile, reuse and recycling of all recyclable materials will be maximized.

 

Another immediate focus of the University is to minimize plastic waste.  “We will intensify our drive against one-use plastics and prohibit bringing to campus containers and wrappers that contribute heavily to waste pollution,” Dr. McCann added. In support of the international Break Free From Plastics movement, she said, a consistent media campaign and Information, Education and Communication strategy will be employed to disseminate information on the policies and guidelines associated with this objective.

 

The blueprint for action was developed by a team led by Dr. Jorge Emmanuel, Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Environmental and Marine Sciences (IEMS) and a Balik Scientist under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Questions or suggestions may be sent to the Waste Management Committee coordinated by the office of the SU president. The full text of the SU Environmental Principles, Policies, Guidelines, and Best Practices is available at: http://su.edu.ph/silliman-university-environmental-principles-policy-and-guidelines-2018/  

//ends

Contact: Madeline B. Quiamco, PhD

Office of Information and Publications

Phone:    +63-35-420.6002 extension 230

Email:     oip@su.edu.ph

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EU Parliament and Commission firm on cutting plastic pollution, governments must follow

EU Parliament and Commission firm on cutting plastic pollution, governments must follow

Producer responsibility requirements must be stronger, campaigners warn

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Brussels, 26/11/2018

“The fight against plastic pollution is one that we can win. The EU plastics laws initiated by the Commission and endorsed by the Parliament are a first step towards a future where plastic doesn’t poison us. If we commit to this together, nobody loses, everybody wins“, said European Commission vice president Frans Timmermans at a press conference today. “The industry is clearly now focusing its energy on the EU Council. It’s up to the Austrian presidency to resist, and maintain the level of ambition initiated by the Commission, and reinforced by Parliament. This is the perfect slot in our history to impulse the virtuous change demanded by citizens. Disappointing them would be tragic”, added Frédérique Ries, who represents the European Parliament in the negotiations on the single-use plastics law.

Mr Timmermans and Ms Ries were speaking beside a three-metre tall dragon spewing single-use plastic litter collected in beach clean-ups, which will stay in front of the Council till Wednesday.

“The Commission and Parliament plan would deal a significant first blow to the monster of plastic pollution, but this plan is at risk. Consumption of throwaway plastic needs to be cut drastically, and the companies making money on the back of this pollution must also be held responsible. If governments don’t ensure the polluter pays, they side with the dragon” said Delphine Lévi Alvarès, European Coordinator of Break Free From Plastic [1].

Campaigners warned that national governments risk weakening ambitious extended producer responsibility (EPR), whereby producers would cover costs for clean-up of litter, for management of plastic waste [2], as well as for awareness raising. Notably, countries may attempt to delay EPR implementation by four years, and exempt waste management costs for some items including the most littered plastic item in Europe: tobacco filters.

“We are at a turning point. Member States must break with short-termism, by holding producers accountable and supporting ambitious prevention and collection measures for fishing gear as well as single-use plastics. EU institutions have the unique chance to spearhead global action on swift and effective solutions to curb plastic pollution.” said Frédérique Mongodin, Seas At Risk senior marine litter policy officer, on behalf of Rethink Plastic. [3]

On November 28, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council are meeting for a second round of negotiations on single-use plastics laws. The third and last negotiation round is to take place on December 18.

ENDS

***
NOTES:

[1] Break Free From Plastic published in October the results of its global brand audits which identify top plastic polluters: https://www.breakfreefromplastic.org/globalbrandauditreport2018/

[2] Including putting relevant waste collection infrastructure in place and collecting, transporting and treating this waste.

[3] The European Parliament voted last month in favour of modulated financial contributions to promote eco-design as well as specific 50% collection and 15% recycling targets for fishing gear.

***
Press contacts:

Roberta Arbinolo, Communications Coordinator, Rethink Plastic
roberta@rethinkplasticalliance.eu +32 491 14 31 97

Matt Franklin, Communications Officer, Break Free From Plastic
matt@breakfreefromplastic.org / +44 79 23 37 38 31

Frédérique Mongodin, Senior Marine Litter Policy Officer at Seas at Risk
fmongodin@seas-at-risk.org +32 2 893 09 67

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Black Friday is frying the planet, join Make SMTHNG Week instead: Greenpeace

Black Friday is frying the planet, join Make SMTHNG Week instead: Greenpeace

Hamburg, Germany, 22 November 2018 – To disrupt Black Friday and Cyber Monday as major international moments for consumerism, Greenpeace and partners launch MAKE SMTHNG Week (November 23 – December 2). With more than 300 events in 41 countries, MAKE SMTHNG Week asks people to #BuyNothing and #MakeSmthng instead.

We are already drowning in stuff – stuffed wardrobes, garages, and kitchens – yet we keep on shopping for more fashion, gadgets, food, single-use plastic, toys, and cars. With our throwaway lifestyles we are fuelling climate change, pollution and the destruction of people’s homes and irreplaceable natural wonders. MAKE SMTHNG Week offers a fun and creative way out of this wasteful consumerism,” said Robin Perkins, Make SMTHNG campaigner at Greenpeace.

By sharing, caring, and repairing things we can make more of what we already own and give our beautiful planet a break,” he added.

Greenpeace, its global partners — Fashion Revolution, #BreakFreeFromPlastic, Shareable, Arts Thread, the Fab Labs Network and the Fab City Global Initiative, will bring together hundreds of designers, artists and makers to lead workshops where people can learn creative techniques of reuse, repairing, fashion upcycling and DIY.

Events include making sustainable Christmas presents, living a plastic-free life, community repair cafes, books and clothes swaps, and zero waste cooking — in 32 countries from Qatar to Peru, Canada, India, Germany, Italy, UK, South Africa and Spain.

Shopping does not make us happy. But being with friends and people, learning new skills, and valuing what we already have, does. So this Black Friday, buy nothing and make something!” said Perkins.

On August first this year, humanity used up more natural resources than the planet is able to reproduce in a year. The over-consumption of convenience products like fast-fashion, single use paper and plastics, gadgets or toys designed not to last, and industrially-produced food, is pushing our planet to its limits.

“Large corporations continue to put profits first, while they reduce the quality, repairability and versatility of their products. Through omnipresent advertising we are told, again and again, to buy more and more stuff we don’t need. Companies won’t change unless we show them people want something different. Together we have to build something that will make this outdated, wasteful model obsolete,” added Perkins. ENDS

Photos and videos can be accessed here.

Notes:

About MAKE SMTHNG week: Website; Resources to get involved; Press Kit; Instagram

#DisruptBlackFriday #BuyNothing #MakeSmthng

Contacts:

Lu Yen Roloff, Comms & Digital Engagement Lead, Germany: lroloff@greenpeace.org, +49 151 10028267

Greenpeace International Press Desk: pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org, +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)

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Green groups challenge ADB to innovate, not incinerate

Green groups challenge ADB to innovate, not incinerate

Mandaluyong City, Philippines, 9 November 2018 — Green groups today challenged the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to live up to its stated mandate and stop financing any form of waste incineration. Incineration, including so-called “waste-to-energy” (WTE) incineration, is a dangerous, costly, and unsustainable method of treating waste. The groups contend that ADB is flouting local and international laws by promoting incineration, and that the bank should facilitate—instead of obstruct—Asia-Pacific’s transition toward a sustainable circular economy.

The call came during the launch of the report ADB and Waste Incineration: Bankrolling Pollution; Blocking Solutions [1] published by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA). The report is a critical review of how ADB promotes investments in WTE incineration despite documented negative impacts of these facilities on public health, environment, economy, and the climate.[2] Joining the launch to call for the bank to pull out of waste incineration funding were No Burn Pilipinas, EcoWaste Coalition, Break Free From Plastic, Greenpeace, Healthcare Without Harm, Mother Earth Foundation, and the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ).

“Incinerator financing is a classic example of ADB’s schizophrenic funding policy,” said Lea Guerrero, GAIA climate and clean energy campaigner. “The bank is using public money to promote dirty and destructive projects that serve to prevent countries in the region from pursuing solutions that conserve resources, protect health and which do not harm the climate. This report challenges ADB to innovate, not incinerate: the world is already moving away from incineration and transitioning to a sustainable circular economy. ADB should follow suit and fund just, equitable Zero Waste systems that will enable this transition.”

The report shows that WTE incinerator facilities advanced by ADB present significant investment risks, fail to comply with key provisions of the bank’s safeguard standards as well as core pillars of the bank’s poverty reduction strategy, and present a lack of accountability to the very people within member countries it is mandated to serve. In Asia, the bank is the leading agency that is bringing the failed incineration model from the Global North. It also proactively partners with waste incineration companies to build WTE incinerators in the region. These facilities lock countries into enormous (and onerous) debts for environmentally and publicly harmful projects with exploitative “put-or-pay” contracts that obstruct the adoption of best practices for dealing with resources and waste.

Among incineration projects funded by ADB are incinerator facilities in China and Vietnam. The bank also recommends waste incineration to other countries through its technical assistance (TA) projects, such as in the Philippines.

“In the Philippines, ADB’s pro-incinerator policies contravene the country’s Clean Air, Ecological Solid Waste Management, and Renewable Energy laws,” said Glenn Ymata, No Burn Pilipinas campaign manager. “Aside from clearly going against its safeguard standards, ADB is potentially locking cities and municipalities, already stretched for funds, into decades of wastage and indebtedness. It is business as usual for ADB and it has been the same  for over 50 years.”

Last October, the bank announced that its lending portfolio has no place for “dirty energy”.[3] Green groups assert that WTE incineration is dirty energy and should not be financed by the bank. “ADB’s funding of incinerators is based on the industry lie that WTE incineration is renewable energy,” said  of PMCJ. “WTE incineration is polluting, carbon intensive, and takes investments away from real RE solutions. It should not be part of the ADB’s portfolio.”###

 

Read the Executive Summary HERE.

 

CONTACT

  • Sherma Benosa | Communications Officer, GAIA Asia Pacific | +63 9178157570  sherma@no-burn.org

 

NOTE TO EDITORS

[1] http://www.no-burn.org/wp-content/uploads/ADB-and-Waste-Incineration-GAIA-Nov2018.pdf

[2] The report highlights that incinerators 1) have adverse impacts on the health and wellbeing of people and the environment ; 2) contribute to climate change; 3) damage local and national economies; and 4) obstruct resource sustainability. WTE incineration is the most expensive way to manage waste and generate electricity and perpetuate the unsustainable “take, make, waste” linear economic model that abets climate change and pollution. At present, incinerator and WTE incinerator facilities are seeing a phaseout in Europe in recognition that incineration is not compatible with a sustainable, low-carbon, and resource-efficient circular economy.

[3] https://www.adb.org/news/op-ed/no-place-dirty-energy-adb-s-climate-vision-yongping-zhai

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EcoWaste Coalition Slams Boatload of Garbage from South Korea, Calls for Immediate Return of Misdeclared Garbage to Its Origin, Group urges PH to ban importation of waste plastic

EcoWaste Coalition Slams Boatload of Garbage from South Korea, Calls for Immediate Return of Misdeclared Garbage to Its Origin, Group urges PH to ban importation of waste plastic

10 November 2018, Quezon City.  A national environmental health and justice organization denounced the entry of misdeclared plastic trash from South Korea, a highly developed economy, to a country like the Philippines, which is struggling to address its own garbage woes.

Fearing a repeat of the still unresolved Canadian garbage dumping scandal, the Quezon City-based EcoWaste Coalition called on the authorities to reject the illegal garbage imports from South Korea and to return them at once to their origin.

Bandila
, the late night news broadcast of ABS CBN, reported about the garbage importation controversy on November 10.  The report can be viewed here:
https://news.abs-cbn.com/video/news/11/10/18/basura-mula-south-korea-dumating-sa-pilipinas

“We find this latest incident of plastic waste dumping outrageous and unacceptable.  Why do we keep on accepting garbage from other countries when we know that our country’s plastic waste, which is literally everywhere, is spilling to the oceans and endangering marine life?,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We also find it ironic that while South Korea is taking action to control its plastic waste, including banning plastic bags in supermarkets starting October this year, and yet its unwanted plastics are being sent abroad,” she said.

“It’s high time for the Philippines to disallow garbage imports and to demand that developed countries, as well as manufacturers of plastics and other disposable goods, take full responsibility for their products throughout their whole life cycle,” she emphasized.

“The illegal garbage shipments from Canada misrepresented as recyclable plastic scraps, which are still in our country, are a stinking reminder of how disadvantageous and unjust global waste trade is,” she reminded.

According to the “request of alert order” issued on October 25,2018 by  Joel Pinawin, Supervisor, Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service, Bureau of Customs (BOC) – Cagayan De Oro City, the baled garbage misdeclared as “plastic synthetic flakes” arrived from South Korea on board MV Affluent Ocean on July 21, 2018.

As per the said document, the shipment was consigned to Verde Soko Phil. Industrial Corp. and the “violation committed” was in relation to Section 1400 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act on “Misdeclaration, Misclassification, Undervaluation in Goods Declaration,” one of the crimes punishable under the said law.

As stated by John Simon,Port Collector, Mindanao International Container Terminal in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental: “Kapag plastic flakes, dapat puro plastic flakes ang makikita mo diyan.  Pero hinde, nakita naming may kahoy at iba’t ibang  materials.”

The incident prompted the EcoWaste Coalition to renew the clarion call it made in 2017 for the government to ban plastic waste imports and for domestic industries requiring plastic scrap inputs to source their supplies locally.

“Barring the importation of plastic garbage should form part of the government’s efforts to improve existing regulations to avoid a repeat of the Canadian garbage saga,” the group said.

“Imposing an import ban on scrap plastics may even prompt  local industries to seek ways to retrieve locally-generated plastic discards,” which can help in reducing the amount of plastics leaking to water bodies,” the group added.

The EcoWaste Coalition made the call after China announced that it will prohibit the importation of scrap plastics and other wastes by January 2018 “to protect China’s environmental interests and people’s health.”

The government of Malaysia announced last month that it will phase out in three years the importation of all types of plastic waste following the Chinese ban on waste imports. -end-

Reference:

https://news.abs-cbn.com/video/news/11/10/18/basura-mula-south-korea-dumating-sa-pilipinas (go to 0:09-0:15 to see the “Request of Alert Order”)

http://www.competitive.org.ph/doingbusiness/reference/downloads/Summit/forupload/RDTAB/1._Customs_Modernization_and_Tariff_Act.pdf

CONTACT:

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 336, Eagle Court, 26 Matalino St., 1100 Quezon City, Philippines

Phone/Fax: 4411846  E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

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