Quezon City, January 21, 2019–Environmental groups today trooped to the Department on Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) calling Secretary Roy Cimatu to respect the law and refrain from issuing the pending waste-to-energy guidelines which includes sections pertaining to waste-to-energy incineration.
The groups, under the alliance No Burn Pilipinas, said issuance of such guidelines is a violation of the Clean Air Act and RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
“DENR is busy doing everything else but their mandate. Waste incineration is banned under the Philippine law. Issuing guidelines that contradict with the existing policies can only cause confusion to the people especially the local government units,” said Glenn Ymata, Campaign Manager of No Burn Pilipinas. “What the DENR should be doing right now is implementing the Clean Air Act and coordinating with the local government units in making sure that the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act is being followed,” Ymata added.
Groups reiterated that right to balanced and healthy ecology is clearly stated in the Philippine constitution, and that the DENR has its written mandate to protect the public and the environment—which all will be violated and neglected once waste-to-energy guidelines are issued.
No Burn Pilipinas, together with its community partners globally and from different areas in the country remain firm on its stand against waste incineration saying that it violates the right of the people to breathe clean air and for a healthy environment.
“We already have the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act that leads us to an environmental and sustainable approach in waste management. Building waste incinerators is definitely a big step backward for us,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of EcoWaste Coalition. “We have model communities who can prove that the Zero Waste approach is the only way to go towards a successful waste management. Practices in said areas should be replicated, strengthened, and mainstreamed. This should also serve as a reminder to our dear secretary that issuing waste-to-energy guidelines invalidates the efforts of these communities,” added Lucero.
Lucero argued that the DENR has been employing a quick fix solution to the waste problem without even fully enforcing the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. Groups also called out the National Solid Waste Management Commission for doing nothing for the past 18 years.
Said groups also trooped to Quezon City Hall to oppose the construction of waste incineration facility in Payatas.
“If only DENR sets as an example of following what’s written in our laws, local units like Quezon City should have not thought of having waste incineration facility in the first place. They have to do their job now and stop violating the laws,” Ymata concluded.
[Berkeley, CA] On January 22, 2019, the Berkeley City Council will vote on the Disposable Foodware and Litter Reduction Ordinance, the most ambitious and comprehensive piece of municipal legislation in the US aimed at reducing single-use disposable foodware.
The “Disposable-Free Dining” ordinance will get its first reading at the December Berkeley City Council Meeting. A press event will be held in advance, at 4:00pm (location), featuring Council Member Sophie Hahn, the ordinance’s lead author. “Single-use disposable foodware is a local and global problem, one with enormous financial and environmental
costs,” says Hahn.
Berkeley’s ordinance goes further than the many disposable plastic reduction ordinances that have passed around the US and globe in the last two years. It requires that:
1) only reusable foodware can be used for dine-in service,
2) all takeout foodware must be BPI-certified compostable,
3) food vendors must charge customers $0.25 for every disposable beverage cup, and
4) disposable compostable straws, stirrers, cup spill plugs, napkins, and utensils for take-out are provided only upon request by the customer or at a self-serve station.
City-owned facilities and City-sponsored events will adhere to the same standards, and mini-grants will be available to help businesses transition.
In April 2018, the City Council introduced the draft ordinance and referred it to the Zero Waste Commission to seek public input. The Commission held six public listening sessions, received over 60 pages of input, and submitted recommendations back to City Council. Councilmembers then revised the ordinance into its current form, which will be put to a vote.
Earlier iterations of the ordinance accepted recyclable disposable foodware, but the final draft omitted it altogether, as global plastic recycling markets continue to founder. “Most of the single-use plastic foodware has no value in today’s recycling markets. With China’s ban on importing plastic scrap, cities are actually paying to get rid of it,” says Martin Bourque, Executive Director of the Ecology Center, the nonprofit that has collected Berkeley’s recycling since 1973. “We cannot recycle our way out of the disposable foodware problem. We have to focus on reduction.”
“Our throw-away culture is leading to a proliferation of plastics in our food, air, and drinking water, which threatens human health and all ocean life. Disposable food packaging is the biggest contributor to the problem,” says Upstream’s Policy Director Miriam Gordon. “Globally, we’ve seen that charging consumers for plastic bags is the most effective way to
shift people from disposables to reusables. The Disposable-Free Dining ordinance builds on
“Businesses that make these changes are often surprised at the cost savings and customer
satisfaction when they move away from disposables,” says Samantha Sommer, who manages Clean Water Action’s Rethink Disposable, a grant-funded program that helps local businesses make the kinds of changes the ordinance mandates.
According to a Clean Water Action study, food and beverage packaging comprise the majority of all Bay Area street litter. Bay Area cities are struggling to meet the Regional Water Board’s zero litter to storm drains requirement by 2022. Like other cities, Berkeley bears the cost of litter abatement – including the costly collection of debris from storm drains – as do the business districts. Last year alone, the Telegraph Avenue Business Improvement District’s street ambassadors picked up over 22 tons of litter.
Globally, single-use disposable foodware is contributing to plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, drinking water, and food. 80% of plastic found in the ocean come from land-based sources. Shoreline Cleanup results from Berkeley, Albany, and Emeryville underscore this.
Martin Bourque, Executive Director, Ecology Center, 510-812-5514
Council member Sophie Hahn, 510-981-7150
Karina Ioffee, Director of Communications, Office of Mayor Jesse Arreguin, 510-981-7102
Washington, DC – In an effort to preserve their ability to produce cheap single-use plastics, several fossil fuel companies and a fast moving consumer goods company united to launch the Alliance to End Plastic Waste today. The group, which includes Exxon, Dow, Total, Shell, Chevron Phillips, and Procter & Gamble, will look to commit $1.5 billion toward keeping plastics out of the environment, rather than prioritizing the reduction of single-use plastic production.
“The plastics empire has struck back with an initiative that seeks to justify and further entrench the continued production of fossil-fuel based plastics for years to come. By aggressively promoting and financing false solutions in Asia, they think they can continue flooding our markets with their problematic sachets and packaging. Industry cannot continue living in their alternate universe where sky is always the limit – the planet is already suffocating in plastic waste and the times call for real solutions, not illusions,” said Von Hernandez , coordinator of the global #breakfreefromplastic movement.
Statements from #breakfreefromplastic member organizations The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), Zero Waste Europe, The Story of Stuff Project, Upstream, Oceana, and Greenpeace follow:
Christie Keith, GAIA International Coordinator and Executive Director
“We can’t recycle our way out of plastic pollution. Instead of coming up with increasingly complicated, unproven, and expensive ways to deal with plastic waste, we need industry to stop making such large quantities of disposable plastic packaging and products in the first place. It is simply absurd to continue using the longest lasting substance for the shortest uses. The answer to this problem is simple – we need to reduce plastic use dramatically. Forward-thinking cities and communities across the world are showing leadership on this front by moving toward zero waste, and it is their efforts that need to be applauded for truly showing us the way of the future.”
Delphine Lévi Alvarès, #breakfreefromplastic movement European coordinator at Zero Waste Europe
“Fossil-fuel producers treat plastic pollution as a waste-management issue in yet another attempt to distract from the real problem. Instead, this investment should be used to scale the alternatives to unnecessary plastics globally. However, this would mean less oil & gas extraction and less plastic manufacturing something that industry is reluctant to accept despite it being the clear solution.”
Sam Pearse, The Story of Stuff Project Plastics Campaign Manager
“Unfortunately these plans look like they were designed to maintain business as usual on plastic production. At a time where plastic is entering our food and drinking water, we need to focus on real solutions: producing less single-use plastic.“
Miriam Gordon, UPSTREAM Program Director
“Using plastic, a material designed to last forever, for products that are used in a matter of minutes and then discarded, will never make sense for people or the planet. Even if the plastics industry spends billions to develop new recycling technologies, there will still be significant pollution impacts associated with the recycling. By using recycling to legitimize the continued extraction of fossil fuels, the plastics and consumer goods industries continue to doom the planet to rapid climate change. These companies should be making pledges to sell and use plastic only for durable materials, not single-use bags, containers, wrappers, bottle caps, lids, utensils, and straws that will escape recycling systems and end up in the environment. The real solutions to plastic pollution are to stop using plastic as a throw away material.”
Jacqueline Savitz, Oceana Chief Policy Officer
“We are at a pivotal moment. The industry’s insistence on producing and using more plastic is simply not sustainable. Plastic-filled bellies of marine birds, sea turtles and fish is beyond acceptable and we may be next. Companies must commit to significantly cut single-use plastic use immediately.”
Graham Forbes, Greenpeace Global Plastics Project Leader
“This is a desperate attempt from corporate polluters to maintain the status quo on plastics. In 2018, people all over the world spoke up and rejected the single-use plastics that companies like Procter & Gamble churn out on a daily basis, urging the industry to invest in refill and reuse systems and innovation. Instead of answering that call, P&G preferred to double down on a failed approach with fossil fuel giants like Exxon, Dow and Total that fuel destructive climate change. Make no mistake about it: plastics are a lifeline for the dying fossil fuel industry, and yesterday’s announcement goes to show how far companies will go to preserve it.”
About Break Free From Plastic:
#breakfreefromplastic is a global movement envisioning a future free from plastic pollution. Since its launch in September 2016, 1,400 groups from across the world have joined the movement to demand massive reductions in single-use plastics and to push for lasting solutions to the plastic pollution crisis. These organizations share the common values of environmental protection and social justice, which guide their work at the community level and represent a global, unified vision. www.breakfreefromplastic.org
Container vans containing misdeclared mixed wastes from South Korea are set to be repatriated by the Bureau of Customs today, 13 January 2019, from Misamis Oriental, The Philippines. A total of 51 container vans will be sent back to South Korea, and is just part of the xx trash-filled container vans illegally sent by Verde Soko, Inc. to the Philippines last July and October, 2018. Greenpeace lauds the quick and decisive action of the Bureau of Customs in resolving this issue. This action sends a very strong message that the Philippines is not a dumping ground and the broken system of recycling puts developing countries, like the Philippines, at risk. Photo: Geric Cruz/Greenpeace
Manila, Philippines (January 14, 2019) — Philippine members of Break Free From Plastic (BFFP), a global movement campaigning against plastic pollution, laud the swift and decisive action taken by the Philippines’ Bureau of Customs (BOC) to repatriate the illegal shipments to South Korea.
The said shipments arrived at the port of the Phividec Industrial Estate Authority at the Southern part of the country last July and October 2018 for locator consignee Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corporation.
After investigating the controversial waste shipments, the BOC concluded that this was a clear case of waste dumping by Korean company, Green Soko Co. Ltd., especially as the shipments of mixed wastes totaling 6,500 tons were misdeclared as plastic flakes, and without proper importation permits.
“Developing countries like the Philippines are not dumping grounds for the wastes of developed countries. Exporters of these mixed waste shipments typically mis-declare their cargo or hide behind the veil of recycling to circumvent national laws and agreements that prohibit waste dumping. By returning these shipments to South Korea, the Philippines is sending a strong message against unscrupulous waste traders that our shores are off limits to plastic trash imports,” said Abigail Aguilar, Greenpeace Philippines Campaigner.
The controversial Korean shipments were declared as “plastic flakes” but upon inspection by the BOC, the shipments yielded a mix of plastic wastes, paper, metal, rubber, and other materials. The first shipment that arrived in July as break bulk cargo (i.e. not in shipping containers) still sits in an open field in the yet unfinished Verde Soko facility. An additional 81 containers of waste were supposed to be shipped but was stopped before it reached Philippine shores after the news of the first two shipments broke.
Plastic pollution has reached crisis proportions globally. With China closing its doors to plastic imports starting January 2018, developed countries have been scrambling to find countries that will accept their waste. Southeast Asian countries are fast becoming leading destinations for the world’s plastic waste. Recent reports have shown an increase in plastic waste import in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Malaysia and Vietnam have since banned the importation of plastic waste, but implementation has been lacking.
“We call on Southeast Asian countries to strengthen their safeguard against importation of plastic waste and to strictly enforce their policies against transboundary waste shipment,” said Beau Baconguis, Regional Plastics Campaigner, GAIA Asia Pacific and Break Free From Plastic. “It is unfair for these developed countries to export their waste to Asia and then have the gall to call Asia as the world’s biggest plastic polluters,” she added.
As the Philippines hails the repatriation of the South Korean waste, local eco-groups are also calling on Canada to take back their waste that have been in the country far longer.
In a statement released earlier by the Philippine watchdog, Eco Waste Coalition, Aileen Lucero said, “By saying ‘no’ to garbage dumping from Korea and other countries, we say ‘no’ to the derogation of our country’s dignity and sovereignty, ‘no’ to the disrespect for national and international laws, and ‘no’ to the harm they will bring to our communities.”
“While we laud the move of the Philippine government to repatriate this illegal shipment of waste from South Korea, we are closely monitoring until the entire process of repatriation is completed. We also urge the public to remain vigilant of future illegal waste shipment in the country. Asia is not any rich country’s dumping ground. We are not their “away,” added Baconguis.
However, reduction targets missing and collection targets delayed, campaigners warn
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Brussels, 19/12/2018
After months of intense negotiations, the EU has agreed much-anticipated laws to slash single-use plastics in the EU. The agreed text is a significant step forward in tackling plastic pollution, but does not fully address the urgency of the plastics crisis, according to Rethink Plastic and Break Free From Plastic.
“The EU deserves praise for being the first region to introduce new laws to reduce single-use plastics and slash plastic pollution in our fields, rivers and oceans. What’s less laudable is that the plastics lobby – backed up by some governments – was able to delay and weaken the ambition,” said Meadhbh Bolger, resource justice campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe on behalf of Rethink Plastic. “Citizens across Europe want to see an end to our throwaway culture and politicians have taken the first step. The time is ripe for Europe to transition away from single-use plastics to reusables.”
The final measures adopted  include:
Bans on several single-use plastic items including plates, cutlery and expanded polystyrene food containers and beverage cups
Ensuring manufacturers pay for waste management and clean-up of several single-use plastic items, including cigarette butts and fishing gear
However, the agreement falls short of what is needed to fully tackle the plastics crisis in key areas including:
No binding EU-wide target to reduce the consumption of food containers and cups, and no obligation for EU countries to adopt targets
A delay of four years on ensuring 90% of plastic bottles are collected separately – from 2025 to 2029
“The new laws are a significant first blow to the plastic pollution monster” said Delphine Lévi Alvarès, European Coordinator of the Break Free From Plastic movement. “However, their impact depends on the implementation by our national governments who must immediately adopt ambitious targets to cut single-use plastics, and ensure producers pay for their pollution. The public call to stop plastic pollution is loud and strong, it is unacceptable to ignore it.”
Tomorrow, December 20, national Environment Ministers are expected to sign off on the agreed Directive. Member States will have two years to transpose it into national laws, which should come into force at the beginning of 2021 at the latest.
A EU-wide ban of single-use plastic cotton buds, straws, plates, cutlery, beverage stirrers, balloon sticks, oxo-degradable plastics, and expanded polystyrene food containers and beverage cups
Extended Producer Responsibility schemes meaning manufacturers (including big tobacco companies and top polluters from the packaging industry like Coca Cola, Pepsico and Nestle) pay for the costs of waste management, clean up and awareness-raising measures for certain single-use plastics including plastic cigarette filters – the most littered item in Europe (by January 2023 for most items)
A possibility for EU countries to adopt market restrictions for food containers and cups for beverages
An obligation for EU countries to reduce post-consumption waste from tobacco product filters containing plastic
For fishing gear, an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme and a requirement for Member States to monitor collection rates and set national collection targets
Ensure all beverage bottles are produced from 30% recycled content by 2030
Labelling on the presence of plastics in a product and resulting environmental impacts of littering, and on the appropriate waste disposal options for that product
What’s not so good:
No binding EU-wide target to reduce the consumption of food containers and cups, and no obligation for EU countries to adopt targets either; instead, countries must “significantly reduce” their consumption, leaving it vague and open
A delay of 4 years in achieving the 90% collection target of beverage containers, from 2025 to 2029, with an intermediary target of 77% by 2025
Allowing for EU countries to choose to achieve consumption reduction and certain EPR measures through voluntary agreements between industry and authorities
A 3 year delay to make sure plastic drinks containers have their caps/lids attached to the containers – from 2021 to 2024
These measures apply to all single-use plastics listed in the Directive’s Annexes including bio-based and biodegradable plastics.
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.
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,” saidEoin 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.