Bells rings for a national single-use plastic ban. Recent SWS survey says that 7 out of 10 Filipinos favor national SUP ban at all times. This call is echoed by green groups Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Asia Pacific, Break Free From Plastic, and Ecowaste Coalition.
MANILA, Philippines (January 21 2020) — Filipinos favor banning single-use plastics. That is according to a recent survey commissioned by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) which highlights the Filipino people’s strong support for a national ban on single-use plastics (SUPs).
The nationwide survey showed that seven out of 10 Filipinos feel that the best thing to do with SUPs is to ban their use at all times. Topping the list of materials that should be regulated or used less nationally is sando bags (71%), followed by plastic straws and stirrers (66%), plastic labo bags (65%), styrofoam or polystyrene food containers (64%), sachets (60%), Tetra pack or doy pack for juices (59%), plastic drinking cups (56%), cutlery such as plastic spoons and forks (54%), Plastic bottles for juice (49%), and Plastic bottles for water (41%).
In addition, 6 out of 10 said they are willing to buy their food condiments in recyclable or refillable containers instead of sachets while 4 out of 10 feel that companies should find alternative materials to plastic.
“The message to political leaders and business is clear: Filipinos reject single-use plastics. By supporting a ban on SUPs, the Filipino consumer is also sending a message to the plastic industry and manufacturers that plastic pollution and throwaway systems are no longer acceptable,” said Beau Baconguis, Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) Asia Pacific Coordinator.
More than a hundred and twenty countries have already instituted regulatory measures such as bans, levies, charges, and others, aimed at reducing the production and consumption of SUPs. The most recent SUP regulations were by Bangladesh, Thailand, and China, the Indian state of Kerala and the Indonesian City of Jakarta.
Further, according to the same survey, 71% of Filipinos want to ban the use of plastic at all times while 10% feel there is a need to ask the user of plastic to pay higher.
“The results of the survey puts into question the common excuse from the the big companies that sachets are pro-poor,” said Froilan Grate, GAIA Philippines Executive Director. According to the survey, those who are willing to buy their food condiments in recyclables and refillables and those who feel that plastic must be regulated or be used less nationally is highest in Class E at 73%. “Sachets and other SUPs are not pro-poor. People buy in sachets because an alternative distribution or packaging systems are not being made available by multinational companies.”
For Patricia Nicdao, Ecowaste Coalition Policy and Advocacy Officer, the Philippines urgently needs a law that will ban single-use plastics at the national level. “We have to act now. The people have spoken. The government needs to pass a law banning single-use plastics. We cannot afford any more excuses and delays!”, Nicdao said.
During the press briefing, GAIA also released a policy brief titled “Regulating Single-use Plastics in the Philippines: Opportunities to Move Forward” which outlines recommendations for the Philippine government in tackling the plastic pollution crisis. Among key policy recommendations are the following:
Pass a national ban on the production, sale, distribution, and use of sando and labo bags and other SUPs with phaseout schedule
Phase out sachets in favor of reuse and refill systems for product distribution within three years.
Establish a program that demands greater responsibility from companies manufacturing and using plastic, by determining their obligations and targets, as well as offering incentives to reduce plastic.
Despite being hailed as one of the world’s most progressive laws on waste management, the implementation of the 19-year old law R.A. 90003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2001 has suffered from a lack of political will and contradicting policies from government agencies involved in waste and resource management.
“We hope that the Philippine government seriously take the public sentiment on single-use plastics. As shown in the results of the survey, plastic pollution is an important issue for Filipino consumers. They are willing to sacrifice convenience and are already looking into refill options and other alternative systems. They expect our government leaders to address the plastic pollution crisis and go beyond lip service by banning single-use plastics in the whole country, ” Grate said. //ends
Notes to Editors:
- Link to GAIA’s policy brief here: www.no-burn.org/PolicyBriefSUP2020
Notes from the SWS survey:
The survey conducted from September 27 to 30 last year used face-to-face interviews of 1,800 adults nationwide.
When asked about what the companies that are responsible for single-use plastics (SUPs) should do in order to help lessen plastic waste in the Philippines, plurality (41%) of adult Filipinos answered use/find alternative materials to plastic. Other responses are: buy/collect plastics and recycle (23%), ban/stop selling/production of plastics (14%), reduce the usage/selling/production of plastics (12%), and conduct seminars/observe proper waste management (4%). Five percent comprised other responses and 9% say none/no answer/don’t know/refused.
The Third Quarter 2019 Social Weather Stations, asked about the products that one would be willing to buy in recyclable or refillable container instead of sachet. The top three responses are: food condiments such as oil, soy sauce, vinegar, etc. (68%), personal care products like shampoo and conditioner (42%), and household cleaning products like dishwashing liquid, liquid detergent, fabric conditioner (42%). Other responses are: powdered drinks like coffee and juices (29%) and household cleaning products like powder laundry detergents (27%). Meanwhile, 0.1% say none and 0.4% had no answer.
When asked about the materials that should be regulated or be used less nationally, majority (71%) of adult Filipinos answered plastic sando bags. Other responses are: Styrofoam or polystyrene food containers (56%), plastic ”labo” bags (54%), plastic straws and stirrers (52%), sachets (50%), plastic drinking cups (43%), cutlery such as plastic spoon and forks (41%), tetra pack or doy pack for juice (37%), plastic bottles for water (32%), and plastic bottles for juice (32%). One percent say none/no answer/don’t know/refused.
About GAIA – Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives is a worldwide alliance of more than 800 grassroots groups, non-governmental organizations, and individuals in over 90 countries whose ultimate vision is a just, toxic-free world without incineration. www.no-burn.org
Jakarta (January 10, 2020). The Governor of Jakarta Province, Anies Baswedan, has just issued Regulation of the Governor of Jakarta Province Number 142 of 2019 concerning Obligations to Use Environmentally Friendly Shopping Bags at Shopping Centers, Supermarkets, and Traditional Markets. The long-awaited regulation has been welcomed by the people of Jakarta Province, as news of its preparation had been circulating for more than one year. This regulation adds to the long list of provinces and regencies/cities in Indonesia that have banned the use of plastic bags, beginning with the city of Banjarmasin in 2016 followed by other regions, including the city of Bandung and the province of Bali which have also issued a similar regulation.
“The movement to phase out plastic bags that began almost 10 years ago in Indonesia is starting to show tangible, at-scale results. We are thrilled that early successes with a plastic bag charge trial in 2016 showed retailers and cities that it is possible to reduce dependency on single use plastics, and that snowball is still rolling thanks to a persistent civil society movement” said Tiza Mafira, as Executive Director of the Indonesian Movement for Plastic Bags Diet (GIDKP). “We at GIDKP appreciate the concrete steps taken by the DKI Jakarta Provincial Government to ban plastic bags, one of the worst culprits of plastic pollution in Indonesia’s rivers. We hope that these regulations are strictly enforced and the people of Jakarta pitch in to making it a success,” added Tiza.
A similar expression was also conveyed by D. Yuvlinda Susanta, Head of Corporate Communications and Sustainability of PT Lion Super Indo, “We greatly appreciate the substance of the regulation that accommodates the application of incentives and sanctions. We also appreciate that this regulation applies equally to supermarkets and public markets. ” Super Indo is one of the supermarkets that has more than 10 years of implementing plastic bag reduction efforts and is the only supermarket that has continued to implement non-free plastic bags since it was tested nationally in 2016.
Appreciation was also conveyed by one of the leading beauty and body care product stores, The Body Shop Indonesia, which has also been campaigning for the reduction of plastic bags since 2013. “The Body Shop and I feel happy and appreciate that the Jakarta Province finally realized the dangers of plastic bags for our environment and took action. Since 2013, The Body Shop and its customers have always supported various movements and petitions for the #Pay4Plastic campaign, which led to the adoption of a plastic bag charge trial in 2016, as well as Jakarta’s efforts to mandate the use environmentally friendly shopping bags since early 2019. Congratulations for Jakarta, which has finally officially banned the use of plastic bags. Hopefully in the future there will be a policy to ban other disposable plastics such as plastic straws and styrofoam, which have been banned in Bali. We hope the same for other regions in Indonesia,” said Suzy Hutomo, Executive Chairwoman of The Body Shop Indonesia.
A similar tone was conveyed by fellow civil society groups who are members of the Alliance of Zero Waste Indonesia (AZWI). AZWI leads a campaign in efforts to reduce single use plastic waste, namely “Ban the Big 5”, which consists of plastic bags, polystyrene foam, straws, sachets, and microbeads.
“Nexus3 welcomes the new regulations issued by the Jakarta Governor regarding the ban on disposable plastic bags. This regulation will help reduce the release of toxic additives in plastics into the environment. Let’s watch together and monitor the implementation!”, said Yuyun Ismawati Drwiega, Senior Advisor of the Nexus3 Foundation.
“Based on data on brand audits conducted by Greenpeace in Indonesia in 2019, plastic bags are one of the most common types of waste with a finding of 1,503 items or 11% of the total waste being audited. In other words, the ban on plastic bags has indeed been urged to be implemented so that it can reduce the waste production that we produce,” said Muharram Atha Rasyadi, Urban Campaigner Greenpeace Indonesia.
“Only about 20-30% of urban solid waste cannot be recycled and must be transported to landfills. If this policy is accompanied by the application of sorting and recycling of organic and inorganic waste, only a small amount of waste remains to be sent to the landfill site. Thus, the Jakarta Province can soon be free of dependence on landfill, and will not need expensive and polluting incinerators,” said David Sutasurya, Executive Director of YPBB Bandung.
The impetus for the issuance of regulations on the prohibition of disposable plastics, especially plastic bags in Jakarta Province, is also one of the demands echoed by the Plastic Free Parade in July 2019, a peaceful march attended by thousands and supported by 49 civil society groups including GIDKP, Greenpeace Indonesia, Indorelawan, Divers Clean Action, Pandu Laut, Pulau Plastik and others. Initiators of the march expressed appreciation for the new regulation.
“We see the enthusiasm of volunteers increasing on environmental issues, especially the problem of plastic waste. Several times we collaborated with environmental organizations to make various activities on the issue, ranging from workshops, discussions to campaigns on social media. As a result, many young people want to take the role to be involved. This means they have been moved and want to learn more about plastic issues,” said Marsya Nurmaranti, Executive Director of Indorelawan.
“The majority of inorganic waste found from our research in coastal areas in 2019 is disposable plastic waste that is still difficult to recycle. The disposable plastic waste referred to is plastic bags, polystyrene foam, sachets, straws and bottled drinking water. Waste that pollutes the ocean can come from human activities in urban areas, where the waste is thrown away or thrown into the river and ends up at sea. This regulation should have a positive impact. If we close the source of waste, it is hoped that it will reduce the leakage of waste into our oceans,” said Swietenia Puspa Lestari, Executive Director of DIvers Clean Action.
“The ban on plastic bags in Jakarta is a big step in creating a cleaner and healthier Jakarta Province. The snowball effect of this kind of action will drive a positive impact, not only on the problem of municipal waste disposal, but also in providing better air and water quality. A cleaner Jakarta means healthier Jakartans and creates a positive impact on lifestyle and economy,” said Wijaya Surya, the initiator of the Jakarta Beach Clean Up Community.
The scope of this regulation is the obligation to use environmentally friendly shopping bags that have adequate thickness and are designed to be reused. Retailers must stop providing single-use plastic shopping bags, and the use of single-use plastic packaging for food wrapping should be limited. This regulation applies to supermarkets, shop owners in shopping malls and traditional markets. Incentives will be given to those who perform well in complying with regulations and sanctions for those who do not comply.
Support from various civil society and business sectors above are a strong evidence that enforcement of regulations prohibiting plastic bags in Jakarta Province can be carried out for the creation of an environment free from plastic pollution. It is expected that this regulation will contribute to achieving the national target of 30% waste reduction by 2025 and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2030.
Rahyang Nusantara – National Coordinator of Indonesia Plastic Bag Diet Movement
+628122096791 – firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA CONTACT: Stefanie Spear, email@example.com, 216-387-1609
BERKELEY, CA—DEC. 13, 2019—The American Chemistry Council and Plastics Industry Association announced Thursday a new program to help manage and prevent the accidental release of plastic pellets into the environment. The program requires companies to report unrecovered releases greater than 0.5 liters or 0.5 kilograms. Reported releases will then be aggregated and publicly reported annually.
Conrad MacKerron, senior vice president of As You Sow, had this to say about the new program:
“Some transparency is better than no disclosure which has been the policy since Operation Clean Sweep’s founding in 1991. However, this policy falls short of the individual company disclosure needed for corporate accountability for this growing threat to oceans and already agreed to by ExxonMobil Chemical, ChevronPhillips Chemical and Dow, due to our efforts. The recent $50 million settlement by Formosa Plastics for pellet spills demonstrates the financial risks to companies and their investors from poor handling practices and the need for individual corporate accountability. We will continue to press individual companies on disclosure and have planned shareholder proposals with more companies for 2020.”
Last year, As You Sow engaged three major petrochemical companies, each of which agreed to disclose pellet spills. Pellet spills are believed to be the second largest source of microplastic pollution in the ocean.
For more information on As You Sow’s work on plastic pellets, click here. To learn more about As You Sow’s Plastic Solutions Investor Alliance, click here.
Boy standing on the market dumpsite, full of unrepairable electronic waste imported from Europe and North America for “reuse” in Lagos, Nigeria. Copyright BAN.
Electronics and Shipping Industry Called “Shameful” in Seeking Exemptions
Seattle, WA, USA. 5 December 2019.
The Basel Ban Amendment
, adopted by the Parties to the Basel Convention on the Control of the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous and Their Disposal in 1995, today becomes international law
. This amendment, now ratified by 98 countries, and most recently, by Costa Rica, prohibits the export of hazardous wastes from member states of the European Union, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and Liechtenstein to all other countries. This agreement today becomes a new Article (4a) of the Basel Convention.
The many countries and organizations, including Greenpeace and the Basel Action Network (BAN), that helped create the Basel Ban Amendment can celebrate their persistence. In view of the continuing export of unwanted electronic wastes, plastic wastes and old ships from North American and European countries to highly-polluting operations in Asia and Africa, the ban is seen as relevant today as it was 30 years ago when ships loaded with barrels of toxic waste left their deadly cargo on the beaches of African and Latin American countries.
“The Ban Amendment is the world’s foremost legal landmark for global environmental justice. It boldly legislates against a free-trade in environmental costs and harm,” said Jim Puckett, who has worked for 30 years to achieve and implement the ban, and now directs the Basel Action Network (BAN) from Seattle.
Despite the achievement of the Ban Amendment, Puckett warns that powerful industries – currently, the electronics and shipping industries – who have failed to overturn the Ban itself, are now trying to change the definition of that to which it applies. They do so in order to exempt their products (electronic waste and old ships) from the legal restraints imposed by the Convention and the Ban.
“Shamefully, electronics manufacturers like HP, Dell and Apple are lobbying for the Basel Convention to call non-functional electronics ‘non-waste’ and thus not subject to the Basel Ban if somebody simply declares these wastes as possibly repairable,” said BAN’s Puckett. “Likewise, the shipping industry has run screaming from their Basel responsibilities for old obsolete ships to create their own Hong Kong Convention, designed specifically to perpetuate the dumping of these toxic ships on South Asian beaches.“
Toxic ships exported, and run up on the beaches of Bangladesh for primitive waste management, continue to violate the Basel Ban Amendment to this day. Copyright Greenpeace.
Further, noticeably absent from the list of countries having ratified the ban is the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, India, Brazil, and Mexico. The United States, in fact, produces the most waste per-capita, but has failed to even ratify the basic Basel Convention while actively opposing the Ban Amendment. “There can be no excuse for any country to use poorer countries as convenient dumping grounds for their waste, and it is especially ugly to do this in the name of recycling or the circular economy,” said Puckett. “With the Ban Amendment now international law, we hope and urge that all countries that have failed to ratify it will reconsider what it means to be global leaders in the age of globalization.”
For more information refer to
The Guide to the Ban Amendment.
For more information:
Jim Puckett, Executive Director Basel Action Network
phone: +1 (206) 652 – 5555
About Basel Action Network (BAN)
Founded in 1997, Basel Action Network is a 501(c)3 charitable organization of the United States, based in Seattle, WA. BAN is the world’s only organization focused on confronting the global environmental justice and economic inefficiency of toxic trade and its devastating impacts. Today, BAN serves as the information clearinghouse on the subject of waste trade for journalists, academics, and the general public. Through its investigations, BAN uncovered the tragedy of hazardous electronic waste dumping in developing countries. www.BAN.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: THURSDAY, 11/28/19
STATEMENT ON TPC CHEMICAL DISASTER
On the morning of Wednesday, November 27, 2019, an explosion involving a processing unit was reported at TPC Group Port Neches, Texas Operations site, east of Houston and less than 10-miles from Port Arthur Texas. No official statement has disclosed the full names of chemicals or toxicants being released into the air and surrounding community during the ongoing fire. The TPC Group Plant has a total of 175 full-time employees and 50 contractors, all personnel on-site have been evacuated and 3 personnel sustained injuries, 2 personnel of TPC Group and 1 contract worker. All 3 injured personnel were taken to the medical center in Southeast Texas, and one was later transported to Memorial Herman in Houston.
“My father was a United Steelworker who succumbed to cancer in 2016. I am well aware that symptoms from this chemical disaster may not surface for years to come. Workers’ medical needs should be covered by TPC for years to come because of known bioaccumulation of both known and unknown chemicals exposures in the body. This facility is has a history of non-compliance, which means that workers bodies absorbed the costs in health impacts. Workers are the first line of defense when these chemical disasters happen. These expenses should be covered by TPC this is the cost of having unsafe business practices, otherwise, they will continue business-as-usual.” -Ana Parras, Co-Executive Director T.e.j.a.s and former President of AFSCME, Local 3242, Corpus Christi, Texas
Incident command was established offsite at the Huntsman Administration building due to the size of fire and inability to get into the location. No immediate shelter-in-place was ordered for the surrounding community until 9:00 am, as of 6:00 pm a total of 50,000 people are under mandatory evacuation. According to the EPA Region 6 and local officials, the main chemical of concern is 1,3-Butadiene although other chemicals may be involved. 1,3-butadiene is a gas used in the production of styrene-butadiene rubber, plastics, and thermoplastic resins. This chemical is carcinogenic, meaning it’s cancer-causing and has both short and long term effects including: irritation of the eyes, nasal passages, throat and lungs, neurological effects, blurred vision, fatigue, headache, and vertigo have also been reported at very high exposure levels. Skin exposure causes a sensation of cold, followed by a burning sensation which may lead to frostbite. Thousands of peo
“We will be spending thanksgiving under shelter-in-place and evacuation orders. We are now 35 hours after the initial blast that started at 1 am yesterday morning at the TPC plant, a known violator of the Clean Air Act, it will most likely burn throughout the night. We woke up to a fiery blast the day before Thanksgiving. This is life for our communities sitting at the fence-line of the petrochemical corridor along the gulf coast. Evacuation orders have only gone out to a 4- mile radius and more than 50,000 southeast Texans have evacuated. We live in an ever-growing petrochemical corridor because of the billions of dollars being invested in petrochemical infrastructure. Not even a full week after the Trump EPA Chemical Disaster Rule rollback. A rule that would have provided common-sense prevention rules in place during catastrophic events like this TPC Disasters.”
-Hilton Kelly, CIDA Inc. Founder & Director,
Just six days ago Trump’s EPA slashed common-sense protections under the Chemical Disaster Rule that could have mitigated the harm faced by communities impacted by disasters like this one. Protections including root-cause analysis, third party inspections and improved communications with first responders and local authorities. The impacted area included several vulnerable areas including residences and schools. The school district of Port Neches-Groves has a total of 11 schools with a total of 5,131 students, 39.1% are economically disadvantaged. All 11 schools sit inside the 4 mile radius of the chemical fire this includes: Taft Elementary, Groves Elementary, West Groves Education Center, Van Buren Elementary, Groves Middle School, Ridgewood Elementary, Port Neches Elementary, Port Neches Middle School, Port Neches- Groves High School, Woodcrest Elementary, and Alternative Education Center.
“People should be spending their holiday with families, instead they have been displaced due to no fault of their own. Fortunately, schools were not in session. What if the blast occurred during school hours? How many children and teachers would have suffered? Disasters like these are preventable, it shouldn’t take a chemical explosion for local, state and agency officials to take action and realize the dangers of chemical facilities.” – Nalleli Hidalgo, Community Engagement and Education Liaison
The TPC fire is not the first, nor last of explosive chemical disasters occurring in Texas. The frequency of chemical plant explosions are endangering workers’ lives on-site and raises concerns of public health issues for frontline communities. We are reminded of the recent fire at the ExxonMobil and the ITC facility on March 16, 2019 and March 17, 2019 in Baytown, Texas and Deer Park, Texas. All incidences found in the southeast Texas petrochemical corridor, east of Houston, Texas. We remain adamant that local, county and state officials implement a Regional Air Toxics Plan and support reinstating the Chemical Disaster Rule, which the current administration recently rolled back. We also want to urge the general public to seek legal remedies outside of the claims hotline and make a full assessment of damages including health impacts. We urge you not to come in direct contact with ash and other debris. Other considerations to keep in mind are the use of ponds, swimming pools and other open waters used for recreation, please avoid exposure to chemical ash and other debris that could have settled on these bodies of water. The same consideration should be given to ash and debris that has landed near residences, including but not limited to metal, charred material, and fire retardant foam that can potentially land on people’s residences, vehicles, and other property. If ash is located on your property avoid cutting lawns. The maintenance of lawns and other landscape can agitate any particulate matter. Instead, call local health and safety departments and take pictures and video of debris if permitted to return to your residences. If you are feeling any side effects visit your physician and maintain a record of your health. Document any symptoms including but not limited to the symptoms affiliated with 1,3-butadiene exposure. Local command stated that other chemicals may have been involved.
For these and additional concerns Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services urges residents in the area affected to evacuate and seek safety with friends and relatives further from the facility. Please remain calm and cautious of current and future road closures and weather events that may complicate the situation. Local officials have not called for a mandatory evacuation outside of the 4-mile radius but we urge those at further distances to take precautions and make decisions best for themselves and family members. Tejas also urges the surrounding municipalities and communities including but not limited to Port Arthur, Port Acres, Pear Ridge, Griffing Park, Lakeview, Central Gardens, and Viterbo, and communities in-view of the plume to take precautions and limit outdoor exposure due to unknown substances that the plume may carry. Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services is not a government agency or county entity to mandate evacuation. We are a 501(c)3 registered environmental advocacy nonprofit that seeks to educate and inform communities on the environmental issues of concern. Due to the concentration of production, storage and other sensitive materials in and around the area we remind the public to stay abreast of the situation as they are out during the day before the Thanksgiving holiday. A Red Cross shelter is being set up at Ford Park in Beaumont according to Chester Jourdan, executive director of the American Red Cross of Southeast and Deep East Texas.
As local, state, and agency officials release statements that their data, based on handheld air monitors is safe; community members continue to sit beneath a massive plume of toxic-chemical smoke. TPC is a petrochemical facility known to have a history of air permit violations according to the Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO), an EPA database. ECHO data has documented TPC as a facility with over 12 quarters of violations dating back to 2017.
“Don’t tell me that health and safety is the topmost priority for TPC a known violator of the Clean Air Act. Children, elderly, pregnant women and so many others are being exposed to cancer-causing 1,3-butadiene. We have no information on the full slate of chemicals being released or the amounts. I appreciate local officials evacuating community members and taking intentional steps to protect public well-being it is a step up from the efforts during the ITC Disaster, and yet TPCs official updates lack the detail and information that ITC handed to the affected community. What we need is for the TCEQ to stop handing out air permits like candy and for the state to lift caps on financial penalties for facilities to fully enforce the letter of the law. How does a known-violator of the law keep getting permission to operate? This is not the first time TPC undermines community well-being. Their activity is criminal and TPC should not be allowed to continue to operate. I hope the general public understands this type of production is not one based on energy demand but the production of plastic goods. This is the real cost of plastic.” – Yvette Arellano, Policy Research and Grassroots Advocate, T.e.j.a.s
Both T.e.j.a.s and CIDA release this statement jointly believing that no community should have to face a chemical disaster as everyone, regardless of race or income, is entitled to live in a clean environment.
Contact: Yvette Arellano, T.e.j.a.s Policy Research and Grassroots Advocate, 281-919-5762, firstname.lastname@example.org Hilton Kelley, CIDA Inc. Founder & Director, 409-498-1088, email@example.com
Photo from Maharlika News.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 14, 2019
Contact: Claire Arkin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 510-883-9490 ext: 111
Berkeley, CA — Tomorrow, on the industry-backed, “America Recycles Day,” people across the country will be participating in clean-up activities, and pledging to recycle more. At the same time, Break Free From Plastic leaders will be getting arrested on Fire Drill Friday to call attention to environmental injustice, climate change, failing recycling systems, and waste dumping scandals, while demanding that corporations reduce the production of plastics, instead of focusing on cleaning it up after the fact.
Keep America Beautiful, the non-profit organization behind America Recycles Day, is funded by some of the biggest corporate polluters (Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Pepsi) according to the recent global brand audit report, and has a history of sabotaging plastic reduction legislation while blaming consumers for the plastic pollution crisis– taking the heat off the corporations who are creating it in the first place.
Instead of taking meaningful steps to phase out single-use plastic from their business models, corporate polluters uplift recycling as the primary solution to plastic waste. But while Americans are diligently recycling and attending clean-ups, the plastic industry is planning to quadruple plastic production by 2050. Meanwhile, only 9% of plastic ever made has been recycled.
Corporations’ over-reliance on recycling is actually undermining it. According to a group of mission-based recyclers including Ecology Center, Eco-cycle, Eureka Recycling, and Recycle Ann Arbor, “Our jobs are becoming harder and harder as major consumer brands flood the market with more and different types of single-use plastics and other disposable packaging, insisting that these items should be included in our recycling programs while doing little to nothing to actually make their products recyclable and recycled.” Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Nestle only use 9%, 3%, and 2% recycled content in their products, respectively.
“Just like the fossil fuel industry, corporate polluters have been using recycling to justify ever-increasing production of single-use packaging, while taxpayers and cities are left to foot the bill. Lower income communities and communities of color, who are the hardest hit and the least responsible, bear the brunt of a model that has brought us to the brink of the waste and climate crisis,” said Denise Patel, US & Canada Program Director of GAIA.
Meanwhile, China’s effective ban on foreign post-consumer recycling imports has exposed the major flaws in our global recycling system, which has been shown to pollute communities in other parts of the world, particularly Asia.
“Plastic waste shipments supposedly for recycling are trashing poor villages and communities wherever they end up. Companies need to come clean on this one — they cannot continue to fool the public that has become acutely aware that the solution to the crisis lies in producing and using less plastic to begin with,” said Von Hernandez, Global Coordinator of Break Free from Plastic.
Fortunately, communities and businesses across the world are working with local governments towards zero waste, including alternative delivery systems like refill and reuse, organizing for improved product redesign and implementing bans on a wide range of single-use disposables.
According to Patel, “We must think beyond recycling. A Green New Deal for Zero Waste will create millions of jobs that focus on reduction and reuse before recycling, bring innovative design and delivery systems for products built with cities, businesses, and communities coming together, and promote health and well-being instead of waste and injustice.”