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Green groups call on Japan, G20 to show genuine leadership in tackling the plastic pollution crisis

Green groups call on Japan, G20 to show genuine leadership in tackling the plastic pollution crisis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MANILA, Philippines (June 28, 2019) — As the G20 summit opens in Osaka, Japan, a coalition of more than 800 environmental organizations worldwide is challenging the heads of state to show leadership in tackling the plastic pollution crisis by addressing overproduction, rather than focusing on waste. The proposed voluntary marine plastics framework does not address the fundamental cause of plastic pollution: the overproduction of plastic..

“As the second-largest consumer of plastic in the world, Japan should show leadership by reducing consumption and production of plastic, especially single-use plastics,” said Beau Baconguis, Asia Pacific Plastics Campaigner of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives and concurrently Asia Pacific coordinator of the global #breakfreefromplastic movement.

Two weeks ago, a meeting of G20 environmental ministers in Japan resulted in a voluntary initiative to share best practices and establish standards for tracking marine plastic waste, but it stopped short of setting clear indicators or a timeline for progress. It is also largely an implementation framework for the “G20 action plan on marine litter”  adopted at the G20 Hamburg Summit in Germany in 2017. The 2017 action plan focuses mostly on plastic waste and marine plastics, rather than on accelerating production and consumption, or impacts on land, air, and freshwater ecosystems.

“Plastic pollutes throughout its lifecycle — from oil and gas extraction to production all the way to final disposal. It is not only a marine litter issue. It is more importantly an overproduction issue. The G20 and Japan need to deal with the plastic pollution crisis in a holistic manner,” added Baconguis.

Most recently, Japan has announced setting aside USD 18.6 million to promote waste incineration in Southeast Asian countries. Through public-private partnerships, waste-to-energy (WTE) incineration plants will find their way to Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam.

“WTE Incineration directly undermines waste reduction, reuse and recycling, and incinerating plastics exacerbates climate change, and creates toxic pollution and hazardous ash. If Japan and other G20 governments are serious about resolving the plastic pollution crisis and about responding to the climate emergency, they must stop using this outdated technology and stop pushing it on other countries,” said Sirine Rached, Global Policy Advocate at GAIA.

“There is no solution to the plastic problem or to climate change that allows the industry to continue growing at 4% per year. It is time for the G-20 to rein in the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries starting with broad bans on single-use plastics,” Rached added.

A 2018 UN Environment Programme report identified Japan as the world’s second largest consumer of single-use plastic packaging per person — behind the United States. G-20 nations produce half of the world’s plastic waste. Abe, who chairs the summit, has already given his intentions to prioritize this issue at the G20 summit and through domestic policies in Japan.

According to a recent Greenpeace East Asia report, Japan is also the world’s second largest exporter of plastic waste, behind the United States. fter China stopped accepting plastic waste imports in 2018, several Southeast Asian nations became new targets.

“Japan and the G20 need to get their plastic addiction under control. Instead of pointing the finger at Southeast Asian countries while dumping plastic waste on them, the G20 needs to address its own overproduction and consumption of plastic,” said Neil Tangri, Science and Policy Director for GAIA.

Press contact:

Jed Alegado, Communications Officer, Break Free From Plastic

jed@breakfreefromplastic.org | +63 917-6070248

Sherma Benosa, Communications Officer, GAIA Asia Pacific

sherma@no-burn.org | +63 917-8157570

 

Sonia Astudillo, Communications Officer, GAIA Asia Pacific

sonia@no-burn.org | +63 917-5969286

About BFFP –  #breakfreefromplastic is a global movement envisioning a future free from plastic pollution. Since its launch in September 2016, over 1,400 non-governmental organizations 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.

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

California Assembly Approves Ambitious Measure to Cut Packaging and Plastic Waste by 75% by 2030

California Assembly Approves Ambitious Measure to Cut Packaging and Plastic Waste by 75% by 2030

Photo by Rick Loomis, Los Angeles Times.

Just one day after Senate passes companion measure, AB 1080 approved to phase out top trash items contributing to global pollution crisis

SACRAMENTO–Acknowledging the worldwide environmental devastation and health problems wrought by plastic and non-recycled trash, both houses of the California State Legislature have now approved identical first-of-their-kind measures to dramatically reduce plastic and packaging waste and jumpstart the in-state clean recycling economy.

Senate Bill 54 (Allen) and Assembly Bill 1080 (Gonzalez), together known as the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, attack the trash crisis at both ends — both before a product is ever created or purchased, and after a single-use item is ready for disposal.  The measures help businesses transition from single-use plastic containers to reusable or compostable packaging with reasonable timelines to make changes in order to achieve an overall reduction of 75 percent by the year 2030. The measures also call for incentives for in-state manufacturing using recycled materials.  Together, these requirements will cut back on the amount and type of trash going into landfills and litter in neighborhoods, waterways, and the ocean, which will reduce costs to taxpayers for disposal and clean-up.

By increasing recycling rates and incentivizing the in-state manufacture of goods using recycled materials, the Act will end California’s existing reliance on other countries to take its waste, and it will boost the state economy.  Currently, California waste and recycling industries are struggling to adapt to China’s 2017 “National Sword” policy to stop accepting other nations’ trash. This has resulted in Californians’ garbage and recyclables piling up at local waste facilities, going into landfills, or being shipped to other countries in Asia that cannot process the sheer amount of trash coming to them.  California’s local governments — and, therefore, ratepayers — are experiencing increased costs as a result. But if fully implemented, the Act’s 75 percent recycling rate will not only help reduce California’s need to ship meaningful quantities of waste out-of-state, it is expected to double the existing 125,000 California jobs in recycling and manufacturing.

Plastic and single-use packaging contribute to a variety of environmental ills.  As plastic breaks down in the environment, it becomes microplastic particles that leach chemicals into waterways and ocean environments, or is eaten by wildlife and marine creatures.  Further, single-use items don’t simply cause pollution; they also contribute to the climate crisis. Plastic items, in particular, are derived from fossil fuels and emit greenhouse gases as they break down.  Reducing California’s reliance on these items is critical for the state to meet its climate and waste diversion commitments.

Plastic and single-use items also contaminate drinking water sources, food supplies, and even air.  Human exposure to plastic and its associated toxins has been linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other serious health problems.

The measures are supported by a broad coalition of environmental organizations, health advocates, green businesses, local governments, and labor.  AB 1080 now goes to the State Senate, while SB 54 heads to the State Assembly.

For more information about the measures, see the bill text or view the fact sheet here.

What others are saying about the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act:

Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), joint author of SB 54 and co-author of companion measure AB 1080: “We need to phase out single-use plastics as quickly as possible.  These plastics are ruining entire ecosystems, poisoning our oceans and waterways, and killing wildlife. It’s time to transition to better alternatives and to send a powerful signal to industry to innovate and to create more sustainable products.”

Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), joint author of AB 1080 and principal co-author of SB 54: “Our decades of overusing non-recyclable and non-compostable single-use products has set the stage for what could be one of the greatest man-made ecological and environmental crises in history. The longer we go without taking action, the higher the costs to our environment, animal life, public health, and our economy. These bills are an important step forward and a direly-needed investment in the health of our planet.”

Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), joint author of AB 1080:  “Tossing our single-use plastics in recycling bins is no longer good enough. If we don’t step up and change our ways, there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish by 2050. California can turn an environmental crisis around with bold plastic reduction policies like this one. Companies must re-use materials they’ve already made.”

Dianna Cohen, Co-Founder and CEO, Plastic Pollution Coalition: “Plastic Pollution Coalition urges your support of this legislation to dramatically reduce plastic and packaging waste in California. It’s time for California to take the next step towards Zero Waste to protect human and animal health, waterways, oceans, and our environment for years to come.”

Dan Jacobson, Director, Environment California (djacobson@environmentcalifornia.org): “Nothing we use for a few minutes should end up polluting our environment for thousands of years. The time of the single-use plastic container needs to go the way of the dinosaur.”

Geoff Shester, California Campaign Director and Senior Scientist, Oceana: “Solving the plastics problem in our oceans will take a concerted effort from the companies that are producing and selling these materials. This legislation will create the framework desperately needed to turn the tide on our single-use plastics problem. We applaud these state leaders and urge that these bills remain strong in their commitment to meaningfully and drastically reduce the impacts of single-use products. As the fifth-largest economy in the world, California has the opportunity to remain an environmental leader on responsible plastics policy and inspire national and international change.”

Stiv Wilson, Campaigns Director, The Story of Stuff Project (Stiv@storyofstuff.org): “This represents California drawing a line in the sand on plastic pollution. As plastic production skyrockets, we’re witnessing the growing environmental and financial cost of attempting to manage the unmanageable. Without a policy like this, we won’t address the scale of the problem. This is California making a quantum leap in the fight against plastic pollution.”

Kathryn Phillips, Director, Sierra Club California (kathryn.phillips@sierraclub.org):  “We are in the midst of a global health crisis. Single-use packaging and product waste pollutes our environment and harms humans and wildlife. California must dramatically reduce the amount of single-use packaging and products. We must also ensure that these products are reusable, recyclable or compostable. Sierra Club California thanks the legislators who have taken a bold step forward in addressing this urgent crisis.”

Katherine O’Dea, Executive Director, Save Our Shores (katherine@saveourshores.org): “Comprehensive legislation like this is exactly what is needed to address the plastic pollution crisis we have reached. The framework it puts in place provides the kind of flexibility that is required to address various single use packaging formats and some of the most ubiquitous plastic products with a best approach for each. At the same time, the legislation mandates significant source reduction while driving recycling rates to levels we should have been able to achieve voluntarily but have failed to for decades. Save Our Shores applauds our state legislators for taking bold action.”

Shilpi Chhotray, Senior Communications Officer, Break Free From Plastic (shilpi@breakfreefromplastic.org): “China may have set the trend of refusing foreign plastic waste but now other countries are following suit, including Malaysia, Thailand, and India. It’s time for California to set the gold standard for the US in reducing the overall global production and consumption of plastics and redesign for their reuse. This type of systemic legislation is crucially needed to address the global plastic pollution crisis.”

Christopher Chin, Executive Director, The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education (COARE) (media@coare.org): “Waste management is an important part of the conversation, but it cannot effectively address the deluge of plastic pollution we all face.  We cannot recycle our way out of this problem, and it is imperative that we, as a society, support upstream solutions considering the full lifecycle of plastics – including its production and consumption.  This legislation begins providing the framework for an approach that the world wants, and that the world so desperately needs.”

Sophie Haddad, State Board Chair, CALPIRG Students (shaddad@ucsd.edu): “As students and young people, we are the generation who will have to face the worst levels of ocean pollution. We know that if we don’t act now, our environment will be even more devastated by trash. We have to do everything we can to stop using single-use plastics, and SB 54 and AB 1080 are great steps in the right direction.”

Marce Gutiérrez-Graudiņš, Founder and Executive Director – AZUL (media@azul.org): “From production to disposal, single-use plastic and packaging waste negatively affect humans, wildlife and the environment, with a disproportionate impact on marginalized communities. This legislation is a strong step towards remedying this environmental justice crisis. Mil Gracias to supporting legislators for their strong leadership!”

Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director of National Stewardship Action Council (heidi@nsaction.us): “Producers of wasteful single-use products need to rethink their design and share in the responsibility for those end of life costs previously externalized onto the public sector and the environment do achieve a circular economy.  We need well-designed durable, reusable products and the product producers are the only ones who can change that and why we support SB 54/AB 1080.”

Angela Howe, Legal Director, Surfrider Foundation (ahowe@surfrider.org): “Surfrider Foundation stands in strong support of the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, which will help Californians rise above plastics and begin to free our ocean of the plague of plastic pollution.  We applaud the state legislature for taking this critical step to usher in forward thinking policy and pave the way toward zero waste.”

Anu Natarajan, Legislative Affairs Manager, Stopwaste (ANatarajan@stopwaste.org): “StopWaste is pleased to support SB 54 and AB 1080 because these bills constitute meaningful progress toward managing packaging and plastic waste, which are both among StopWaste’s top priorities.”

Nick Lapis, Director of Advocacy, Californians Against Waste (nicklapis@cawrecycles.org): “These monumental bipartisan votes on SB 54 and AB 1080 show that California will continue to lead on tackling environmental pollution that our federal government actively ignores. We simply can’t continue to trash our planet.”

Contact: Arianna Smith
arianna@ariannazsmith.com
916.542.8303

Groups say goodbye to Canada waste, urge PH government to ban all waste imports immediately

Groups say goodbye to Canada waste, urge PH government to ban all waste imports immediately

30 May 2019, the Philippines – As the Philippines bid goodbye to the Canadian waste, six years after it was discovered in Philippine ports, environmental groups are calling on the Philippine government to ban all waste imports in the Philippines and ratify the Basel Ban Amendment. This follows the discovery of several other waste shipments to the Philippines from South Korea in 2018 and Australia and Hong Kong, which were divulged last week.

From 2013 to 2014, 103 shipping containers from Canada were intercepted in the Port of Manila containing mixed wastes,  including non-recyclable plastic, waste paper, household waste, electronic wastes, and used adult diapers. These materials are classified as hazardous, based on the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste and Control Act of 1990 (Republic Act 6969). Moreover, the importation of the shipment violates the Basel Convention, as the contents of the cargo vans were misdeclared as ‘recyclable’.

While the return of Canada’s waste is a positive development, only a little more than half (69 containers) of the original waste is being shipped back; 26 containers were already landfilled in the Philippines at the time when Canada disowned responsibility for the shipment; the other eight containers were also disposed of locally.

Aside from the controversial Canadian waste, shipments containing garbage from South Korea were discovered in October 2018. After campaigns from environmental groups in both the Philippines and South Korea, the Philippine government and its South Korean counterparts agreed to ship back part of the waste shipment in January 2019. The remaining 5,176.9 metric tonnes of waste are still in Misamis Oriental, awaiting repatriation.

In May 2019, the entry of wastes coming from Australia and Hong Kong in Mindanao Container Terminal became public.

Ever since China closed its doors to waste importation in January 2018, Southeast Asian countries have been the destination of waste exports from developed countries . A report from Greenpeace revealed that the majority of ‘mixed recyclable plastics’ previously destined to China are being redirected to countries in the region with weak environmental regulations. [1]

Local NGO groups, including Ecowaste Coalition, Greenpeace Philippines, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, BAN Toxics, and the global Break Free from Plastic movement, reiterated the call for the Philippine government to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment, which prohibits the import of all waste for any reason, including “recycling”.

The groups are also calling on the Philippine government to ban all waste shipments from entering the Philippines, and to stand up for Philippine sovereignty by telling developed countries that the Philippines is not a garbage dump.

The groups also launched an online petition [2] calling on President Rodrigo Duterte to declare a ban on the entry of wastes to the Philippines and to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment. Ecowaste Coalition called on all Filipinos to ‘raise the flag’ on social media to make a strong and collective stance against the entry of illegal waste shipment in the country. [3]

Notes to the editor:

[1] Data from global plastic waste trade 2016-2018 and the offshore impact of China’s foreign waste import ban. http://www.greenpeace.org/eastasia/Global/eastasia/publications/campaigns/toxics/GPEA%20Plastic%20waste%20trade%20-%20research%20briefing-v2.pdf

[2] Ban entry of foreign waste to the Philippines. https://act.gp/banforeignwaste

[3] Ecowaste Coalition encourages Filipinos to raise the flag vs onslaught of foreign waste. http://www.ecowastecoalition.org/2019/05/27/ecowaste-encourages-filipinos-to-raise-the-flag-vs-onslaught-of-foreign-waste/

Media contacts:

Angelica Carballo Pago, Greenpeace Southeast Asia-Philippines
angelica.pago@greenpeace.org | (+63) 949 889 1332

Jed Alegado, Break Free from Plastic
jed@breakfreefromplastic.org | (+63) 917 607 0248

Thony Dizon, Ecowaste Coalition
thony.dizon24@yahoo.com | (+63) 917-8364725

Sonia Astudillo, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives
sonia@no-burn.org  | (+63) 917-5969286

Dawn Po Quimque, BAN Toxics
dawn@bantoxics.org | (+63) 929 313 0488

STATEMENT FROM ORGANIZATIONS ON THE REPATRIATION OF THE CANADIAN WASTE

“Today marks a high point in our nation’s history as we get rid of the illegal waste shipments from Canada after six exasperating years of struggle for environmental justice and the rule of law.  As the 69 shipping containers set sail for home, we say with conviction that the Philippines is not the world’s dumpsite. We need to learn from this prolonged ordeal and make sure it is never repeated. Never again shall we allow other countries to trash our dignity, our people’s health and the environment.  

“This ordeal has taught us of the urgency of correcting outmoded regulations allowing waste imports into the country under the guise of recycling. We need to close this ghastly loophole that is facilitating illegal waste traffic and turning our country into a dumping ground for plastic, electronic and hazardous wastes, which should be safely recycled, treated or disposed of in the country where such wastes were generated.” – Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, Ecowaste Coalition

“Canada’s waste shipment to the Philippines has put in the spotlight how developed countries are exploiting weak national regulations and loopholes in international conventions in order to dump waste they can’t process in poor countries. The fact that it took five years before Canada acknowledged responsibility for the shipment underlines the helplessness of developed countries when governments of importing countries do not cooperate.

“Imposing a ban to close our doors to all waste shipments and ratifying the Basel Ban Amendment will send a strong message that the Philippines is not a dumping ground. However we also need to plug internal holes. The waste shipments that have been exposed in recent years are likely only the tip of the iceberg. It is highly probable that many more waste shipments have entered the country undetected, or under false declarations or questionable circumstances. Unless the holes in the system that allow this to happen–whether faulty regulations, inadequate monitoring, or corruption–are plugged, we will continue to be at the receiving end of waste shipments–and worse, unable to hold responsible countries and parties accountable.” – Lea Guerrero, Country Director, Greenpeace Southeast Asia – Philippines

“While this is a momentous moment for the Filipino people, still, the country faces a number of issues related to hazardous waste shipments. As long as there’s nothing that protects the developing countries in becoming a dumping ground for unwanted toxic waste and garbage, we remain vigilant, and will continue to call out the government for immediate actions.

“We appeal to President Duterte, to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment immediately. Put the responsibility of policing hazardous waste exporters to the country of export, such as Canada, Hong Kong, and Australia. We need to be smart in addressing the problem, and the Basel Ban Amendment is a valuable tool towards protecting a significant portion of the population who are at risk by toxic waste dumping.” – Reynaldo San Juan, Jr., Deputy Executive Director, BAN Toxics

“While we laud the move of the Canadian government in finally acting on their illegal waste shipments in the Philippines, we are also wary about the recent illegal waste shipments  from other developed countries to the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia. Asia is not the developed countries’ dumping ground! The Basel Convention mandates countries to deal with their plastic waste in their own backyards. Since the Basel Convention amendment takes effect next year, we are challenging governments in Asia to take immediate measures in safeguarding their territories.”  – Jed Alegado, Communications Officer for Asia-Pacific, Break Free from Plastic

“We have nothing else to blame but DENR for enabling these countries to dump their waste in our ports. By drafting guidelines on waste incineration, other countries are now more attracted to have their garbage burnt in our country.” – Glenn Ymata, Senior Campaign Manager, No Burn Pilipinas

 

California Senate Approves Ambitious Measure to Cut Packaging and Plastic Waste by 75% by 2030

California Senate Approves Ambitious Measure to Cut Packaging and Plastic Waste by 75% by 2030

SB 54 would phase out top trash items that contribute to the global pollution crisis through source reduction and improved recycling

SACRAMENTO–Amidst growing awareness of worldwide environmental devastation and health problems wrought by plastic and non-recycled trash, the California State Senate has approved first-of-its-kind legislation to dramatically reduce plastic and packaging waste and jumpstart the in-state clean recycling economy.

Senate Bill 54 (Allen), known as the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, attacks the trash crisis at both ends — both before a product is ever created or purchased, and after a single-use item is ready for disposal.  The measure helps businesses transition from single-use plastic containers to reusable or compostable packaging with reasonable timelines to make changes in order to achieve an overall reduction of 75 percent by the year 2030. The measure also calls for incentives for in-state manufacturing using recycled materials.  Together, these requirements will cut back on the amount and type of trash going into landfills and litter in neighborhoods, waterways, and the ocean, which will reduce costs to taxpayers for disposal and clean-up.

By increasing recycling rates and incentivizing the in-state manufacture of goods using recycled materials, the Act will end California’s existing reliance on other countries to take its waste, and it will boost the state economy.  Currently, California waste and recycling industries are struggling to adapt to China’s 2017 “National Sword” policy to stop accepting other nations’ trash. This has resulted in Californians’ garbage and recyclables piling up at local waste facilities, going into landfills, or being shipped to other countries in Asia that cannot process the sheer amount of trash coming to them.  California’s local governments — and, therefore, ratepayers — are experiencing increased costs as a result. But if fully implemented, the Act’s 75 percent recycling rate will not only help reduce California’s need to ship meaningful quantities of waste out-of-state, it is expected to double the existing 125,000 California jobs in recycling and manufacturing.

Plastic and single-use packaging contribute to a variety of environmental ills.  As plastic breaks down in the environment, it becomes microplastic particles that leach chemicals into waterways and ocean environments, or is eaten by wildlife and marine creatures.  Further, single-use items don’t simply cause pollution; they also contribute to the climate crisis. Plastic items, in particular, are derived from fossil fuels and emit greenhouse gases as they break down.  Reducing California’s reliance on these items is critical for the state to meet its climate and waste diversion commitments.

Plastic and single-use items also contaminate drinking water sources, food supplies, and even air.  Human exposure to plastic and its associated toxins has been linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other serious health problems.

The measure is supported by a broad coalition of environmental organizations, health advocates, green businesses, local governments, and labor.  It now goes to the State Assembly. The identical companion measure, Assembly Bill 1080 (Gonzalez), currently awaits a vote on the Assembly floor.

For more information about the measure, see the bill text or view the fact sheet here.

What others are saying about the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act:

Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), joint author of SB 54 and co-author of companion measure AB 1080: “We need to phase out single-use plastics as quickly as possible.  These plastics are ruining entire ecosystems, poisoning our oceans and waterways, and killing wildlife. It’s time to transition to better alternatives and to send a powerful signal to industry to innovate and to create more sustainable products.”

Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), joint author of AB 1080 and principal co-author of SB 54: “Our decades of overusing non-recyclable and non-compostable single-use products has set the stage for what could be one of the greatest man-made ecological and environmental crises in history. The longer we go without taking action, the higher the costs to our environment, animal life, public health, and our economy. These bills are an important step forward and a direly-needed investment in the health of our planet.”

Dianna Cohen, Co-Founder and CEO, Plastic Pollution Coalition: “Plastic Pollution Coalition urges your support of this legislation to dramatically reduce plastic and packaging waste in California. It’s time for California to take the next step towards Zero Waste to protect human and animal health, waterways, oceans, and our environment for years to come.”

Dan Jacobson, Director, Environment California (djacobson@environmentcalifornia.org): “Nothing we use for a few minutes should end up polluting our environment for thousands of years. The time of the single-use plastic container needs to go the way of the dinosaur.”

Geoff Shester, California Campaign Director and Senior Scientist, Oceana: “Solving the plastics problem in our oceans will take a concerted effort from the companies that are producing and selling these materials. This legislation will create the framework desperately needed to turn the tide on our single-use plastics problem. We applaud these state leaders and urge that these bills remain strong in their commitment to meaningfully and drastically reduce the impacts of single-use products. As the fifth-largest economy in the world, California has the opportunity to remain an environmental leader on responsible plastics policy and inspire national and international change.”

Stiv Wilson, Campaigns Director, The Story of Stuff Project (Stiv@storyofstuff.org): “This represents California drawing a line in the sand on plastic pollution. As plastic production skyrockets, we’re witnessing the growing environmental and financial cost of attempting to manage the unmanageable. Without a policy like this, we won’t address the scale of the problem. This is California making a quantum leap in the fight against plastic pollution.”

Kathryn Phillips, Director, Sierra Club California (kathryn.phillips@sierraclub.org):  “We are in the midst of a global health crisis. Single-use packaging and product waste pollutes our environment and harms humans and wildlife. California must dramatically reduce the amount of single-use packaging and products. We must also ensure that these products are reusable, recyclable or compostable. Sierra Club California thanks the legislators who have taken a bold step forward in addressing this urgent crisis.”

Katherine O’Dea, Executive Director, Save Our Shores (katherine@saveourshores.org):

“Comprehensive legislation like this is exactly what is needed to address the plastic pollution crisis we have reached. The framework it puts in place provides the kind of flexibility that is required to address various single use packaging formats and some of the most ubiquitous plastic products with a best approach for each. At the same time, the legislation mandates significant source reduction while driving recycling rates to levels we should have been able to achieve voluntarily but have failed to for decades. Save Our Shores applauds our state legislators for taking bold action.”

Shilpi Chhotray, Senior Communications Officer, Break Free From Plastic (shilpi@breakfreefromplastic.org): “China may have set the trend of refusing foreign plastic waste but now other countries are following suit, including Malaysia, Thailand, and India. It’s time for California to set the gold standard for the US in reducing the overall global production and consumption of plastics and redesign for their reuse. This type of systemic legislation is crucially needed to address the global plastic pollution crisis.”

Christopher Chin, Executive Director, The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education (COARE) (media@coare.org): “Waste management is an important part of the conversation, but it cannot effectively address the deluge of plastic pollution we all face.  We cannot recycle our way out of this problem, and it is imperative that we, as a society, support upstream solutions considering the full lifecycle of plastics – including its production and consumption.  This legislation begins providing the framework for an approach that the world wants, and that the world so desperately needs.”

Sophie Haddad, State Board Chair, CALPIRG Students (shaddad@ucsd.edu): “As students and young people, we are the generation who will have to face the worst levels of ocean pollution. We know that if we don’t act now, our environment will be even more devastated by trash. We have to do everything we can to stop using single-use plastics, and SB 54 and AB 1080 are great steps in the right direction.”

Marce Gutiérrez-Graudiņš, Founder and Executive Director – AZUL (media@azul.org): “From production to disposal, single-use plastic and packaging waste negatively affect humans, wildlife and the environment, with a disproportionate impact on marginalized communities. This legislation is a strong step towards remedying this environmental justice crisis. Mil Gracias to supporting legislators for their strong leadership!”

Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director of National Stewardship Action Council (heidi@nsaction.us): “Producers of wasteful single-use products need to rethink their design and share in the responsibility for those end of life costs previously externalized onto the public sector and the environment do achieve a circular economy.  We need well-designed durable, reusable products and the product producers are the only ones who can change that and why we support SB 54/AB 1080.”

Angela Howe, Legal Director, Surfrider Foundation (ahowe@surfrider.org): “Surfrider Foundation stands in strong support of the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, which will help Californians rise above plastics and begin to free our ocean of the plague of plastic pollution.  We applaud the state legislature for taking this critical step to usher in forward thinking policy and pave the way toward zero waste.”

Green groups call on Southeast Asian governments to resist waste imports

Green groups call on Southeast Asian governments to resist waste imports

MANILA, Philippines (May 24, 2019) — Southeast Asian environmental non-governmental organizations are calling on their respective governments to strictly enforce bans on illegally shipped wastes from developed countries.

“The recent news about waste shipments being discovered at the shores of the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia is alarming. When the wealthy nations clean up, it should not have to be at the expense of the developing world. Governments in Asia, which has become the world’s new dumpsite, must strictly guard their territories against waste smuggling from richer countries,” said Beau Baconguis, Plastics Campaigner of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Asia Pacific and Break Free From Plastic Asia Pacific coordinator.

Early this year, waste shipments from Australia arrived at the Mindanao International Container Terminal in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental in Southern Philippines. These were declared as municipal waste/processed engineered fuel (PEF) intended for the cement company Holcim. The news of the shipment broke out as the Philippine government is demanding the Canadian government to take back 69 containers of illegally shipped wastes found in the Manila port in 2013 and 2014.

“The entry into our country of residual wastes generated by Australia’s commercial, industrial, and construction sectors in the form of cement kiln fuels looks like a devious disposal scheme.  Described as ‘municipal waste’ in the shipment declaration, Australia is able to get rid of its residual wastes in a profitable way by converting and relabeling them as processed engineered fuel for export to developing countries like ours. We question this latest scheme of foreign waste disposal,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of Ecowaste Coalition.

Meanwhile, early this year, at least 60 shipping containers carrying hazardous and toxic wastes have been piling up at the Batu Ampar port in Batam, Riau Island, in Indonesia for five months. Earlier, a shipment containing waste from foreign countries was discovered in Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta.

“This has to stop. It is the height of hypocrisy for the richer countries to be presenting themselves to the world as having good waste management system, while at the same time, polluting us and calling us the world’s biggest polluters. Shame on them! Come clean up your mess and stop producing so much waste,” said Yuyun Ismawati, co-founder of BaliFokus/Nexus3.

Earlier this week, news outlets reported that the Malaysian government has already sent back to Spain five containers of contaminated plastic waste that was smuggled into the country. According to the United Nations’ trade database and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Malaysia’s imports of plastic waste from its 10 biggest source-countries jumped to 456,000 tons between January and July 2018, versus 316,600 tons purchased in all of 2017 and 168,500 tons in 2016.

Mageswari Sangalingaram of the Consumers Association of Penang lauds the move of the government of Malaysia to resist the waste shipments.

“As the Malaysian government is getting stringent in enforcing restrictions of plastic waste imports by sending back mixed, contaminated and falsely declared waste consignment to the country of origin, we are very concerned that unscrupulous exporters are now eyeing other countries and ports of entry to dump their waste. The enforcement agencies must now step up their efforts to ensure that our countries do not become dumping grounds for the developed nations,” she said.

Countries in Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand have been at the receiving end of illegally shipped wastes from developed countries since China banned plastic waste importation in 2018. Because of this, Malaysian and Thai governments started imposing restrictions in mid-2018.

A recent  report by GAIA titled “Discarded: Communities on the Frontlines of the Global Plastic Crisis” shows the impacts of plastic waste being dumped into developing countries. The influx of the plastic waste in these countries has resulted in contaminated water, crop death, and respiratory illnesses caused by inhaling toxic fumes from burned plastic.

In the recently held Basel Convention, an international treaty on dealing with hazardous waste, 187 countries agreed to Norway’s proposal of extending the “prior informed consent” system to plastic waste. The agreement requires exporters to seek the permission from destination countries before it can ship in its hazardous waste to that country. The said agreement is set to take effect after a year.

“The Basel Convention mandates countries to deal with their plastic waste problem in their own backyards instead of passing the burden on to other countries. Until the amendment takes effect in 2020, developing countries are on their own in safeguarding their territories,” Baconguis said.

Note to the Editor:

In order to make cement, high-temperature kilns are needed. Traditionally, coal is used in these kilns, but in the past two decades, many “alternative fuels” have been used. The term “alternative fuel” has often been used to disguise the fact that this “fuel” is actually waste, including tires, plastics, and petrochemical waste. Burning waste alongside coal allows cement kilns to use loopholes in emission regulations. In some instances, the kilns actually receive subsidies or carbon credits for replacing some coal with waste—in spite of their toxic impact.

Source: https://www.no-burn.org/cement/

CONTACTS

Jed Alegado, Communications Officer, Break Free From Plastic
jed@breakfreefromplastic.org | +63 917-6070248

 

Sherma Benosa, Communications Officer, GAIA Asia Pacific

sherma@no-burn.org | +63 917-8157570

 

Sonia Astudillo, Communications Officer, GAIA Asia Pacific

sonia@no-burn.org | +63 917-5969286

 

College of the Atlantic Commits to Campus Wide Plastic Elimination Goal

College of the Atlantic Commits to Campus Wide Plastic Elimination Goal

Bar Harbor, ME. The College of the Atlantic is the first college campus in the country to sign onto the “Break Free From Plastic Campus Pledge” – a campus-wide commitment to eliminate all single-use disposable plastics. With COA’s President signing the pledge last week, COA has committed to “Break Free From Plastic” by 2025. This initiative was led by the student group [Earth] and supported by the non-profit the Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN). The “Break Free From Plastic” campus pledge and toolkit specifically addresses accessibility and inclusivity concerns, and generates a framework for college campuses (and other institutions) to develop long-term systemic solutions to issues around
waste and disposable consumption.

PLAN is a non-profit that cultivates, educates, and inspires students leaders to tackle issues around waste and unsustainable systems on their campus. The campus pledge was built in coalition with the international Break Free From Plastic Movement and can be found on PLAN’s website among many
other tools and resources to assist students looking to get involved in the student led zero waste movement.

[Earth] started as a logo developed by a group of College of the Atlantic students preparing to attend the UN Climate Negotiations in Nairobi in 2006. From there it has grown into an internationally recognized symbol representing the political mess we’re in. We believe international cooperation is not only possible, but necessary if we are to address our most pressing problems. Any lasting solution needs to include as many people as possible.

Darron Collins ’92, President of COA, Anna Mae Sheehan ’22 and Isidora Muñoz ’22, members of [Earth]

“It’s become clear to many people by now that plastics are one of humanity’s ‘wicked problems,’ and while the actions of one small college aren’t going to solve that problem, what we are doing with the signing of this pledge is a very real start–one we hope that other organisations will take notice of and consider following along.” – Darron Collins ’92, president of COA.

“The PLAN pledge will be an important keystone in College of the Atlantic’s commitment to diverting 90% of campus associated discarded resources from landfill and incineration by 2025” – Eleanor White ’22, co-chair of the Campus Committee for Sustainability

“By signing PLANs #BreakFreeFromPlastic pledge, we hope to commit College of the Atlantic to follow through on the discarded resource policies that we have in place and join a growing network of campuses that are moving away from single-use plastics” – Anna Mae Sheehan ’22, member of [Earth]

For More Information Contact
Faye Christoforo, PLAN Co-Director: 978-269-4368, faye@postlandfill.org

 

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