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Philippine environment and climate justice groups demand urgent and concrete actions amid climate emergency declaration

[et_pb_section bb_built="1" _builder_version="3.0.47" da_is_popup="off" da_exit_intent="off" da_has_close="on" da_alt_close="off" da_dark_close="off" da_not_modal="on" da_is_singular="off" da_with_loader="off" da_has_shadow="on" da_disable_devices="off|off|off"][et_pb_row _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.98" background_layout="light"] MANILA, Philippines (December 7, 2020) --- Representatives from affected communities, environmental groups, civil society and faith-based organizations demanded urgent and concrete actions from the government amid the declaration of a disaster and climate emergency in the country. Last November 25, the House of Representatives approved its resolution HR No. 1377 declaring a climate emergency in the entire country. In a press conference held on Monday, representatives of the said groups called for a more comprehensive and integrated approach in addressing the climate crisis, as the Philippines is among the most susceptible countries to hazards brought about by climate change. According to them, a mere declaration is not enough. They also doubted the sincerity of the government to address climate change given the severity of its impacts to communities as evidenced by typhoons that ravaged the country over the last decade and just recently, Typhoon Ulysses. “While we welcome the resolution of the Lower House to declare Climate Emergency, we need genuine immediate and long term sustainable plans and decisive actions that are comprehensive in addressing the adverse impacts of climate change and disasters,” quipped Jaybee Garganera of Alyansa Tigil Mina and convenor of Green Thumb Coalition. “The current behavior and practice of the Duterte administration is inconsistent with this House resolution, including the recommendation to open up more mines to recover from COVID19”, he added. The groups said that the resolution should complement the environment and climate related bills of the 18th Congress to address climate change with a sense of urgency.  “Our lawmakers need to enact long-standing policies especially the pending Green Bills designed to make the environment and communities resilient to climate impacts and scrap all existing laws and programs that are responsible and have exacerbated climate impacts. Moreover, they should also stop the approval of funding dirty energy projects by corporations that greatly contribute to climate change which bring more serious health problems including cancer,” said Glenn Ymata of No Burn Pilipinas. The groups added that burning of fossil fuels such as coal and waste-to-energy incineration, mining, quarrying, single use plastic are also contributors to the pollution problem, which is now threatening more the climate, environment, and public health. “Burning oil, gas, coal, and waste endangers people’s health and causes global warming and climate change. We need urgent steps, not just a resolution, to give a more compelling basis for actions and response to climate related crises to empower local communities to protect themselves. We also encourage our government to safeguard our country’s lands from further misuse and degradation, “ said Gerry Arances, convenor of the Power for People Coalition. The groups also called on President Duterte to issue an Executive Order so that national agencies and LGUs are compelled to take actions with no delay including resource mobilization, proper allocation and prudent disposition of the same. This EO would also dictate immediate passage of many pending laws and ordinance such as the passage of the proposed National Land Use Act, the single-use plastic ban, and would eventually scrap dirty energy projects such as coal power plants and the bill on waste-to-energy incineration. “Will this climate emergency declaration alleviate the helpless situation of those heavily affected from the series of 5 typhoons that happened three weeks ago? Will it save us from future impacts?  Does the government know based on science what kind of catastrophic impact we are facing? What exactly does the government is trying to shield us from with this climate emergency declaration? This kind of expression will only redound again to mere rhetoric if funds and resources are not mobilized by the government to help in the climate proofing of the country. Not less than a multiple crises fund - covid, economic and climate - should readily be legislated and be made available to the people to make this resolution a sincere effort from the government.” stressed Ian Rivera, National Coordinator of Philippine Movement for Climate Justice. The groups added that corporations and policymakers should respect existing laws in the country such as the Clean Air Act and Ecological Solid Waste Management Act including the international Paris agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Respecting these laws and agreements will help cut down greenhouse gas emissions and prevent global temperatures rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.  “We cannot allow business as usual because absent sincere and concerted effort from the government and without genuine participation of the people, our fragile ecology will continue to suffer undue stresses by climate-induced catastrophes.” added Fr. Angel Cortez of Ecological Justice Interfaith Movement - Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines “Expect more as we will be launching physical and virtual protest actions to make climate culprits accountable for climate induced impacts to communities. There will be petitions as well to counter the issuance of any laws, permits and certificates for the operation of mining, quarrying, single-use plastics, dirty energy facilities to prevent the effects of climate change aggravated by the burning of waste, coal and other fossil fuels,” Garganera ended. # # # For more information, please contact: Jaybee Garganera -  09175498218 / nc@alyansatigilmina.net  [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

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The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo and Nestlé named top plastic polluters for the third year in a row

[et_pb_section fb_built="1" admin_label="section" _builder_version="3.0.47" da_is_popup="off" da_exit_intent="off" da_has_close="on" da_alt_close="off" da_dark_close="off" da_not_modal="on" da_is_singular="off" da_with_loader="off" da_has_shadow="on" da_disable_devices="off|off|off"][et_pb_row admin_label="row" _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" _builder_version="3.0.98" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat" text_font="||||||||" text_font_size="16px"] Manila, Philippines - The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo and Nestlé are ranked as the world’s top plastic polluters for the 3rd consecutive year according to Break Free From Plastic‘s report “BRANDED Vol III:  Demanding Corporate Accountability for Plastic Pollution” released today, during a virtual press conference. This year, Break Free From Plastic’s brand audit -- an annual citizen action initiative that involves counting and documenting the brands on plastic waste found in communities across the globe collected 346,494 pieces of plastic from 55 countries. In addition, this year’s brand audit takes a special look at the essential work of informal waste pickers, predominantly in the Global South, and the impact low value single-use plastic has on their livelihoods. “It’s not surprising to see the same big brands on the podium as the world’s top plastic polluters for three years in a row. These companies claim to be addressing the plastic crisis yet they continue to invest in false solutions while teaming up with oil companies to produce even more plastic. To stop this mess and combat climate change, multinationals like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestlé must end their addiction to single-use plastic packaging and move away from fossil fuels,” said Abigail Aguilar, Plastics Campaign Regional Coordinator, Greenpeace Southeast Asia. In the latest report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, it was made clear that these corporations have made zero progress in addressing the plastic pollution crisis. Single-use plastic has devastating effects not only on our earth but for frontline communities around the world. Waste pickers and community members in the Global South are witnessing the rapid escalation of low-grade single-use plastic packaging being aggressively placed in the market by major multinational corporations. “Corporations rely on informal waste workers to collect their packaging, allowing them to meet sustainability commitments and justify their use of high quantities of single-use plastic packaging. Yet the current shift to lower value plastic packaging is threatening the livelihoods of the waste pickers, who cannot resell such low-grade items. The systems that waste pickers operate in must change,” said Lakshmi Narayan, co-Founder of SWaCH Waste Picker Cooperative in Pune, India. Multinational corporations need to take full responsibility for the externalized cost of their single-use plastic products, such as the costs of waste collection, treatment and the environmental damage caused by them. If business as usual continues, plastic production could double by 2030 and even triple by 2050. Time is running out. “Top polluters are complicit in damaging frontline communities and continuing to pump out packaging that damages people's health, wealth and environment. We need a just transition off of fossil fuels, and towards a circular economy,” said Anna Cummins, co-Founder of 5 Gyres. “The world’s top polluting corporations claim to be working hard to solve plastic pollution, but instead they are continuing to pump out harmful single-use plastic packaging. We need to stop plastic production, phase out single-use and implement robust, standardised reuse systems. Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestlé should be leading the way in finding real solutions,” said Emma Priestland, Global Corporate Campaigns Coordinator, Break Free From Plastic. About BFFP –  #breakfreefromplastic is a global movement envisioning a future free from plastic pollution. Since its launch in September 2016, over 1,900 non-governmental organizations and individuals 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. This article is translated in available in FrenchSpanishPortugueseGermanSlovenian, DanishVietnameseItalianUkrainianMontenegrin/Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian and Bulgarian. Notes to Editors:  1. Link to this year’s report 2. Brand audit Toolkit 3. BRANDED Volume II: Identifying the World’s Top Corporate Plastic Polluters. (2019) 4. 2018 Brand audit report: Branded: In Search of the World’s Top Corporate Plastic Polluters, volume 1 (2018) 5. A Greenpeace USA report titled Throwing Away the Future: How Companies Still Have It Wrong on Plastic Pollution “Solutions,” recently called out companies for opting for false solutions. 6. A GAIA Asia Pacific report titled Plastics Exposed: How Waste Assessments and Brand Audits are Helping Philippine Cities Fight Plastic Pollution, uses data from household waste assessments and brand audits (WABA) conducted by the NGO Mother Earth Foundation (MEF) in six cities and seven municipalities across the country in the past five years. GAIA extrapolated the data to calculate daily and yearly plastic usage throughout the country in order to provide new quantitative evidence about plastic pollution in the Philippines. Press Contacts: Shilpi Chhotray, Global Communications Lead, Break Free From Plastic, shilpi@breakfreefromplastic.org | +1 703 400 9986 Capucine Dayen, Global Communications Lead, Plastic-Free-Future, Greenpeace cdayen@greenpeace.org | +33 6 47 97 18 19 Marina Ivlev, Director of Communications, 5 Gyres marina@5gyres.org | +1 719 213 5746 (PST) [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

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Plasticized Childhood: The Impacts of Plastics on Children’s Health and the Environment

[et_pb_section fb_built="1" _builder_version="3.0.47" custom_padding="0px|0px|54px|0px" da_is_popup="off" da_exit_intent="off" da_has_close="on" da_alt_close="off" da_dark_close="off" da_not_modal="on" da_is_singular="off" da_with_loader="off" da_has_shadow="on" da_disable_devices="off|off|off"][et_pb_row _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.98" text_font="||||||||"]Photo by Vanessa Bucceri on Unsplash

The images of plastic pollution in the oceans have shocked the world, but the impacts of plastic production and consumption go far beyond, especially when considering the vulnerability of children. This was the issue approached by the webinar entitled “Plasticized Childhood”, organized by #BreakFreeFromPlastic and the Child and Consumerism Program from Alana Institute. The event was moderated by Julia Cohen, Plastic Pollution Coalition managing director last July 3, 2020.

Karolína Brabcová, expert on Plastics and Toxic chemicals from Czech non-governmental organization Arnika, emphasizes that children are more vulnerable to plastic toxicity as its impacts in this period of life are less reversible than for adults. It affects children even before birth. Studies have shown the effect of toxic additives in plastics in the brain development and hormone production of the fetus.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_code _builder_version="3.0.98" custom_padding="|50px||50px" custom_margin="|||"]<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?height=314&href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fbreakfreefromplastic%2Fvideos%2F3108536272515280%2F&show_text=true&width=560" width="560" height="529" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media" allowFullScreen="true"></iframe>[/et_pb_code][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.98" text_font="||||||||"]Children enter the colossal world of plastic when they receive heir first toys. The recent report launched during the webinar by JP Amaral, from the Child and Consumerism Program from Alana Institute, and Dr. Vânia Zuin, from the Federal University of São Carlos, brings the impacts of advertising plastic toys to children on their health and in the environment. The study shows that 90% of all toys worldwide are made of plastic materials and are mostly made from Polyvinyl Chloride mixed with phthalates, a toxic substance which can cause cancer and hormonal problems in children. Bisphenols, also present in some toys, are among the toxic substances for children and have been banned from other products, such as baby bottles.

When it comes to the environmental externalities of plastic toys, the study estimated that, in Brazil alone, 1.38 million tons of plastic toys will be manufactured between 2018 and 2030, the equivalent of 198 thousand garbage trucks lined up from Miami to New York, apart from 582 thousand tons of toy packaging. The low recyclability of these toys can make one reflect that possibly all toys ever made are still out there.

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“The low recyclability of these toys can make one reflect that possibly all toys ever made are still out there.”

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Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash

Carroll Muffett, president and CEO at CIEL, brought the perspective of plastic before it reaches the consumer. The process of plastic production exposes local low-income communities to over 170 toxic chemicals, and children are, once again, the most affected by these. He also emphasized the effects on climate change, in which, adding the production and waste incineration of plastics, will emit by 2050 the equivalent of 615 coal plants.

As we see a growing movement of children and youth fighting for climate justice, it is essential to give them a voice, as well as to tackle plastics and keep fossil fuels in the ground. The webinar exposed the vicious consumerist cycle of “production-publicity-desire-consumption-disposal” of plastics and its effects on children. The solutions also have to consider children in the center of our attention, either on their present health or on the future of their environment.

Read the full report at https://bit.ly/bffp_plasticized

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New Federal Law green lights plastic waste export for burning

[et_pb_section fb_built="1" _builder_version="3.0.47" da_is_popup="off" da_exit_intent="off" da_has_close="on" da_alt_close="off" da_dark_close="off" da_not_modal="on" da_is_singular="off" da_with_loader="off" da_has_shadow="on" da_disable_devices="off|off|off"][et_pb_row _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.98" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"] The Australian government's much touted Recycling and Waste Reduction Bill is being debated in the Federal Senate this week, establishes a legal framework to repackage Australia's plastic waste as fuel and send it to poor countries to burn. It also subsidises industries that process plastic waste into fuels' to burn in cement kilns and incinerators in Australia. The new Bill undermines efforts to move to a circular economy that Australian citizens have been led to expect that this bill would deliver. The Prime Minister's world first' announcement that Australia would ban waste exports following China's National Sword policy and similar decisions in South East Asian countries, led to the creation of this bill and a raft of supporting policy documents(1). Poorer regional neighbours claimed they have been treated as a dumping ground for rich countries waste and have been returning shipments including Australian waste. Rather than banning waste exports the Government is promoting repackaging plastic scrap and other wastes and relabelling it a fuel' product and supports exporting it to burn in poorer countries. Australians have been misled about the real intention and purpose of this bill which will entrench the reprocessing of plastic and other waste as fuel. It's like burning fossil fuel with added toxic compounds. There is nothing environmentally friendly or climate friendly about this. It is not recycling. said Jane Bremmer, National Toxics Network Australia. The Federal government is also planning to direct such waste fuels' to waste to energy incinerator projects being fast-tracked all over Australia in low income communities increasing risks of toxic emissions. They also want to burn it in cement kilns, co-generation paper mill incinerators and the growing plastic to fuel and chemical projects' planned for Australia. warns Jane Bremmer Zero Waste Campaign Coordinator for the National Toxics Network Australia. Put simply, this bill is a trojan horse. On the surface it looks like the federal government is serious about acting to prevent Australian waste exports and the associated adverse impacts on our regional neighbours. In reality though, this plan is simply a move to change our policy from exporting our unsorted and contaminated mixed wastes, to reprocessing this waste into a fuel product for continued export. Reprocessing our waste is a method to turn mixed residual wastes and plastic scraps into a more homogenised form by shredding or pelletising it and then baling it for export or use in the cement kiln or waste Incineration industry here in Australia. It can then be classified as a fuel or product and is therefore not defined as waste'. This is just a semantic argument to allow business as usual and more dirty exports. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (which has been funding incinerators all over Australia) has joined with the new Australian Recycling Infrastructure Fund to build reprocessing infrastructure for this staged approach to fuelling incinerators and other industries here in Australia and overseas. The latter fund was recently highlighted in the media after failing to have spent any funds on recycling infrastructure adding to concerns that it is being earmarked for waste to fuel projects. Burning plastic waste in the guise of Process Engineered Fuel or Refuse Derived Fuel is a stealthy way to continue burning fossil fuels. It is also a highly toxic fuel leaving forever chemicals' like dioxin and PFAS in our local and global environments where they cause irreversible adverse impacts. As signatories to the Stockholm and Basel Conventions, Australia is obliged to avoid installing polluting waste incineration as a waste management choice. The Basel Convention seeks to prevent waste dumping on poor countries, but Australia is seeking to subvert this legal obligation by calling the waste - fuel'. Australia can and must do better than this. We need to rapidly invest in Zero Waste City models that are proven, safe and far more effective at managing our waste. This bill not only fails to deliver waste reduction and better recycling outcomes, but it will entrench more plastic consumption, waste and associated pollution." States Jane Bremmer. For more information: Jane Bremmer 0432 041 397 Zero Waste Campaign Coordinator, National Toxics Network Australia[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

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International Groups Condemn Australia’s Stealthy Waste Export Plans

[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text] Photo by Daniel von Appen on Unsplash The Australian Governments Recycling and Waste Reduction Bill is progressing through the Australian Parliament. The bill is designed to strengthen product stewardship laws and prevent the export of Australian waste in response to the international condemnation of waste dumping by OECD countries like Australia in the Asia Pacific region and to support a much needed Australian recycling sector. Yet the bill is supported by a range of national policy documents that enshrine Australia's plans to reprocess waste, particularly plastic wastes for use as fuel in Australia and overseas. In effect, the Australian government's response to China's National Sword Policy and similar action by other South East Asian countries, is to continue to export mixed waste by reprocessing it into a fuel product for incineration in cement kilns and waste incinerators. This raises serious questions about Australia's commitment to the Basel Convention an international convention to ban the export of hazardous wastes. Australia's residual waste stream is one of the largest in the world and stagnates at roughly 20 million tonnes per year. This waste contains many complex mixtures and materials including non-recyclable plastic waste. This waste stream is problematic because of the inherent chemical mixtures embedded in our materials production which include multi-layered and composite material products such as nappies, sanitary products, plastic packaging and all the products and materials that cannot be recycled or reused that end up in this highly complex hazardous waste stream. When residual waste is simply compressed into pellets or shredded and packaged in plastic bales as a fuel, the combustion of this material can cause highly toxic air emissions and associated hazardous ash which is a serious public health threat. “When the Australian government announced its waste export ban, no one thought that this would mean our waste would simply be repackaged as a fuel product. We are deeply disappointed that the Australian government will continue to export our waste as a fuel product. This will pollute other more vulnerable communities in South East Asia while fuelling the many waste to energy incinerators planned for Australia, scandalously as clean and renewable energy projects with public funds,” states Jane Bremmer Zero Waste Campaign Coordinator for the National Toxics Network Australia. "The new bill emerges at the crossroads of the global discourse on the circular economy, global efforts to reduce the greenhouse gases, and the upcoming Basel Amendments on plastic wastes. The bill could become a barrier for Australia to achieve all targets related to the global commitments," says Yuyun Ismawati from Nexus3 Foundation, Indonesia. "In the last couple of years, a significant percentage of mixed waste from Australia that entered Indonesia, could not be recycled. Instead Australia should redesign the packaging, improve waste separation, collection and recycling for new products should be improved to meet the circular economy goal. Converting waste into RDF is not compatible with the circular economy principles and still pollutes the neighbouring countries," added Yuyun. "In the past, like Indonesia, Malaysia has had bad experience from the exports of Australian waste to our country in the pretext of recycling and for use as fuel in cement kilns. Some of these wastes that were processed and repackaged as "fuel" such as Processed Engineered Fuels (PEFs) were found to be contaminated with hazardous waste," states Mageswari Sangaralingam from the Consumers' Association Penang (CAP), Malaysia. Mageswari added, “Why should we, the recipient communities in the developing country suffer the adverse impacts from dumping of residual wastes, toxics from the combustion of these wastes that are disguised as''fuels ``? Australia should stop the exports and dumping, take responsibility for your own waste. Do not export harm." Aileen Lucero from EcoWaste Coalition, Philippines states; "Allowing plastic wastes to be exported for co-incineration in cement kilns in developing countries is garbage disposal by another name. This is a deceptive scheme for Australia to get rid of its plastic residuals, combined with other materials, in the guise of replacing fossil fuels in cement production as if these wastes are not petroleum-based to begin with. We reject this gaping loophole in Australia's plastic export ban and ask the federal government to reconsider this scheme rebranding their garbage as fuel." “While we laud the move to ban and phase-out single use plastic production and consumption, we are not buying Australia’s plan to ship all those plastic waste to other countries,” said Yobel Novian Putra, GAIA Asia Pacific Climate and Clean Energy Associate.  “Repackaging plastic waste into fuel for burning in cement kilns in other countries does not address the problem at source. Feeding plastic in-disguise as fuel to cement kilns only shifts the environmental impact and promotes the usage of dirty incineration technologies.” “It does not help that we make it so easy for the plastic industry to get away with their waste and just ship it to other countries with less stringent policies,” said Putra.  This plastic ban along with its loopholes goes against the Prime Minister’s support for a ban on waste export which he announced August last year.”   Satyarupa Shekhar, Break Free From Plastic Asia Pacific Coordinator, sees the move as industry supported. “For years we have asked people to stop littering, segregate waste, recycle…  while the plastic industry who manufactures these single-use plastic sit on their comfortable corporate offices probably thanking us for doing the work for them.  It is high time we make them accountable, ask them to clean up their mess, or change their old ways, and offer genuine solutions.” For more information and interviews: Jed Alegado Senior Communications Officer, Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) Asia Pacific Phone: +63 917 6070248 Email: jed@breakfreefromplastic.org Website: www.breakfreefromplastic.org  Sonia Astudillo Communications Officer, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Asia Pacific Phone: +63 917 5969286 Email: sonia@no-burn.org Website: www.no-burn.org [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

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Quick to commit but slow to change, Corporations are making little progress upscaling towards a circular economy for plastics

[et_pb_section fb_built="1" _builder_version="3.0.47" da_is_popup="off" da_exit_intent="off" da_has_close="on" da_alt_close="off" da_dark_close="off" da_not_modal="on" da_is_singular="off" da_with_loader="off" da_has_shadow="on" da_disable_devices="off|off|off"][et_pb_row _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"] Corporations are being assailed on all sides by evidence of the damage caused by their plastic packaging and products. From the yearly Break Free From Plastic Brand Audits calling out the top plastic polluters, to new studies showing that plastic entering the ocean will triple over the next 20 years, the evidence has become impossible to hide from. In reaction, many companies have signed up to Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastic Economy Global Commitment. Companies such as Coke, Pepsi, Nestle and Unilever have made voluntary commitments to eliminate unnecessary plastic and make their plastic reusable, recyclable or compostable. Today, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation released the second annual report tracking progress towards these commitments. It’s a sorry story of distraction, delay and avoidance of the real solutions including source reduction. Companies are still focusing on more recycling of single-use plastics, despite the fact that the recycling system is clearly broken. Only 9% of all the plastic ever made has been recycled, and there is little capacity to effectively recycle much of the plastic that is placed on the market. When a company is making 200,000 bottles a minute as Coca Cola does, it’s hard to imagine a recycling system could ever keep pace. The plastics industry continues to focus on recycling because it allows them to make little change to how they do business, placing the burden  on local municipalities and individuals to manage their plastic waste. The new report highlights that companies have done very little on reuse, despite it being part of their commitment. Reuse, however, is the ultimate solution to getting rid of single-use plastic. Break Free From Plastic members around the world call on companies to work together to develop standardised reuse systems that will massively cut down on plastic waste. So far the same companies that have been identified as top global plastic polluters have conducted small scale trials on reuse, but none have taken steps towards switching their packaging to reusable systems. Until they do this, it is likely they will continue to be found to be the top global plastic polluters year after year by our Brand Audits. Look out for our 2020 report on December 2nd to find out who this year's top plastic polluters are. A more positive change is that companies are increasingly including recycled plastic in their products instead of virgin plastic. This is an important step in the creation of a better plastic system, but it needs to be accompanied with a massive reduction in the use of plastic items to have real and long-lasting impact. Industry and government needs to ensure that plastic products can be easily recycled in the country where they are used, instead of being shipped to other countries for their end of life. Increasing recycled plastic content will have a limited impact on the overall harm caused by plastic products, but it is an improvement on the current situation. If corporations are truly committed to improving recycling and using more recycled content, the best way for companies to have access to high quality recycled plastic is through deposit return schemes. Unfortunately, a recent investigation by BFFP member Changing Markets found that many of the signatories to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Global Commitment are actively lobbying against laws that would bring these proven solutions in. Studies have shown that even if existing commitments are met by companies, it will make very little difference on how much plastic ends up in the environment. If all current corporate and government commitments are fully implemented, in 20 years the plastic flowing to the oceans will have only been reduced by 7%. If companies are serious about tackling the plastic pollution they cause they must: REVEAL how much plastic they produce REDUCE the amount of plastic they produce and stick to clear targets REINVENT how they deliver products to their customers, using standardised reusable and refillable packaging or simply no packaging at all. The Break Free From Plastic movement will continue to hold companies accountable for the pollution they create, and demand change beyond weak voluntary commitments such as these. With the help of thousands of activists, we conduct Brand Audits each year to shine a spotlight on which corporations are polluting our environment the most. We need to see radical change in how products are delivered to people, without the use of harmful, polluting, petrochemical based plastic packaging. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

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Members in the Spotlight: Oceana Europe

[et_pb_section fb_built="1" _builder_version="3.0.47" da_is_popup="off" da_exit_intent="off" da_has_close="on" da_alt_close="off" da_dark_close="off" da_not_modal="on" da_is_singular="off" da_with_loader="off" da_has_shadow="on" da_disable_devices="off|off|off"][et_pb_row _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.98" text_font="||||||||" text_font_size="16px" header_font="||||||||" header_2_font="|700|||||||" header_2_font_size="23px" header_2_text_color="#3a8c9e"]

Meet the Oceana Europe Team!

Oceana is the largest international advocacy organisation dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Our plastics campaign has three pillars in the EU: advocating for ambitious legislation, urging stakeholders to curb SUPs, and unveiling the impact of plastics in marine ecosystems. Our team members started working for Oceana between 2007 and 2020. Helena, Irene, Nati and Pilar are based in Spain, and Naja lives in Denmark - our two target countries for our campaigns. Part of our team allocates all of their efforts to keep single-use plastics from reaching the ocean, and the others also work for other campaigns within Oceana, so we have a good mix! [/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.98" text_font_size="18px"][/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src="https://www.breakfreefromplastic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Oceana-EU-plastics-team.png" align="center" _builder_version="3.0.98" max_width="45%"][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.98" text_font="||||||||" text_font_size="16px" header_font="||||||||" header_2_font="|700|||||||" header_2_font_size="23px" header_2_text_color="#3a8c9e"]

Why is plastic pollution an important issue for your organisation? What’s your story?

Oceana has undertaken at-sea expeditions for the past fifteen years, and we have recorded pollution virtually in every dive. Over time, we realised that marine litter was a growing problem. Very often, the areas with a higher biodiversity are also the places where plastics concentrate. This is specially the case of the deep sea, that is home to very vulnerable species yet it is often overlooked in protection plans. We have witnessed how plastics are changing the seascape and the behaviour of marine species, and jeopardising conservation wins. So earlier this year Oceana finally launched a plastics campaign in Europe! [/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.98" text_font="||||||||" text_font_size="16px" header_font="||||||||" header_2_font="|700|||||||" header_2_font_size="23px" header_2_text_color="#3a8c9e"]

Tell us more about your ongoing campaigns.

Marine litter was one of the main inspiration sources for the SUP Directive, and it is also the basis of our policy work (see for example our recommendations for Spain). Plastics last much longer in the sea than on land, and especially in deeper areas. We have started to release findings from our expeditions, beginning with a report on seamounts, underwater canyons and other submarine features, and a video focusing on Mediterranean depths. We believe that it is important to unveil the hidden impact of plastics. We will release more reports in the coming months, and there is also a toolkit to remove plastics from workplaces in the making. [/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.98" text_font="||||||||" text_font_size="16px" header_font="||||||||" header_2_font="|700|||||||" header_2_font_size="23px" header_2_text_color="#3a8c9e"]

When did your organisation become a core member of BFFP? What does it mean for your organisation to be part of the BFFP movement?

Oceana sits in the Steering Committee of BFFP -  Jackie Savitz, Chief Policy Officer for North America, is our representative. We participated in the discussions that led to the formation of BFFP and we were part of the group that designed the initial strategy and convened the first global meeting in Tagaytay. Oceana’s participation in BFFP allows us to engage in the most powerful international force pushing back on the expansion of plastics production from nearly every country in the world, and to ensure that the focus on solutions doesn’t stray from the need to reduce plastics at the source. Preventing the success of industry greenwashing means that we can better protect our oceans.

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What is the most ridiculous plastic product or packaging that you have seen?

One of the most shocking images are pieces of fruit, like oranges or bananas, wrapped in plastic. We saw them in the cafeteria of the Spanish Congress, together with dozens of other SUPs: food containers for salads, single portions of oil and dressings, cutlery, stirrers, plastic cups in several places of the building, etcetera. Taking into account that we are just in the middle of the process to transpose the SUP Directive, lawmakers should lead by example! [/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src="https://www.breakfreefromplastic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/EUO-©-OCEANA-76599.jpg" _builder_version="3.0.98" max_width="59%" module_alignment="center"][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.98" text_font="||||||||" text_font_size="16px" header_font="||||||||" header_2_font="|700|||||||" header_2_font_size="23px" header_2_text_color="#3a8c9e"]

What do you find shocking in the plastic waste landscape that you think everybody should know about?

Marine plastic pollution began to be on the political agenda when citizens realised how dirty beaches were. This sad reality has inspired clean-ups and prompted politicians to draft legislation, but it is the tip of the iceberg. Some scientists say that 99% of plastic marine litter is not visible. Plastic is already in the sediment, and the deepest parts of the ocean are acting as sinks or “plastic traps”.  The fact that we don’t see it doesn’t mean that it’s not there - this is the archaeological legacy of our generation. [/et_pb_text][et_pb_code _builder_version="3.0.98" text_orientation="center"]<iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/440288542" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; fullscreen" allowfullscreen></iframe><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><p><a href="https://vimeo.com/440288542">Plastics are choking the Mediterranean #OcéanosSinPlásticos #PlasticFreeSeas</a> from <a href="https://vimeo.com/oceana">Oceana</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>[/et_pb_code][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.98" text_font="||||||||" text_font_size="16px" header_font="||||||||" header_2_font="|700|||||||" header_2_font_size="23px" header_2_text_color="#3a8c9e"]

Thank you to Natividad Sánchez, Campaign Director at Oceana Europe, for taking the time to answer these questions. [/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.98"][/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

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Thank you #BrandAudit2020 Participants and Organizers

[et_pb_section fb_built="1" _builder_version="3.0.47" custom_padding="0px|0px|54px|0px" da_is_popup="off" da_exit_intent="off" da_has_close="on" da_alt_close="off" da_dark_close="off" da_not_modal="on" da_is_singular="off" da_with_loader="off" da_has_shadow="on" da_disable_devices="off|off|off"][et_pb_row custom_padding="0px|0px|27px|0px" _builder_version="3.0.47" background_size="initial" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="3.0.47" parallax="off" parallax_method="on"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.98" text_font_size="16px" text_font="||||||||"] © NGO O.ZERO Each year, Break Free From Plastic changemakers and allies conduct a global audit of plastic waste collected from cleanups in order to hold the top corporate polluters accountable. This year is no exception. With a loud and clear message to KEEP THE PRESSURE ON, countless volunteers safely participated in brand audit events all over the world. [/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src="https://www.breakfreefromplastic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Blog-data.jpg" _builder_version="3.0.98"][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.98" text_font_size="16px" text_font="||||||||"] Despite the challenges of organizing during a global pandemic, 197 organizations and hundreds more independent volunteers joined #BrandAudit2020. A total of 49 countries across 6 continents were represented. With the data collected from these initiatives, Break Free From Plastic will publish the annual Brand Audit report and name the top plastic polluters of 2020. Stay tuned for the launch in the coming weeks! Until then, let’s hear from the amazing people who organized and participated in brand audits.   We asked participants to share why they joined this initiative, and what was the most valuable thing they learned from their experience taking part in Break Free From Plastic's Brand Audit 2020? “What was striking when completing the audit was how many of these brands are owned by such few companies - huge multinational companies that are causing so much pollution when they have the money and capability to make such better choices.” -Bettina (UK) [/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src="https://www.breakfreefromplastic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Toyin-Nature-Cares.jpg" _builder_version="3.0.98"][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.98" text_font_size="16px" text_font="||||||||"] © Nature Cares Resource Centre Household, Nigeria, Toyin Oshaniwa, 2020 Participating in the 2020 brand audit has taught me the real danger posed by plastic and the reason why we must discourage more plastic production at its source and hold companies responsible for pumping more plastic into our environment. With this brand audit, I have been able to identify the brands mostly patronized by consumers due to the corporation marketing strategy and reduced price - in the case of our city it is Royal Crown company popularly called RC and Bigi produced by Rite Foods are the current most used and patronized soft drinks in the market now in Ebonyi State, Nigeria. In this context, education, as a powerful tool, should serve a constructive purpose to prepare Nigerian young people to actively participate in the process of fighting against plastic pollution.” - Anita Nwonu (Nigeria) “I believe that we need to flip the narrative from consumer responsibility to corporate responsibility when it comes to destroying our own habitat with plastic. The Brand Audit was a way to literally get my hands dirty and look at the issue from up close and personal.” - Colin V (USA) [/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src="https://www.breakfreefromplastic.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Isa-Wiriya-Kingwatcharapong.jpg" _builder_version="3.0.98"][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.98" text_font_size="16px" text_font="||||||||"] © Wason Wanichakorn / Greenpeace “We joined this initiative as a part of our efforts to spread awareness about plastic waste. We learned about the amount of waste produced by us, we need to change our lifestyle. We learn that despite rules and EPR provisions, there is no initiative by any big brands.” - Paryavaran Mitra (India) “I joined to be part of a global movement and break free from plastic. To encourage plastic polluters to stop mass production.” - Jorge Rico (Colombia) I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself, for a cause that I care about. I do make an effort to reduce the amount of plastic I consume, but I know that this is not enough. Although I did the Brand Audit by myself, it felt nice to think about the other people who are participating in this project, in different parts of the globe. It made me feel less alone. I also learned that sorting and determining what kind of plastic something is, is a little bit more difficult than it sounds!” - Anonymous __________________________________________________________________________________ To our tireless and dedicated participants, thank you so much for joining us in the cleanups, data collection, and last but not least, in demanding REAL solutions. You truly are heroes in your own right. Continue to inspire and change the world with us! Together, let’s #BreakFreeFromPlastic Here’s a video dedicated to each and everyone who contributed to #BrandAudit2020.  [/et_pb_text][et_pb_code _builder_version="3.0.98"]<iframe width="1080" height="600" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7H-r2IkupAg" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>[/et_pb_code][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]