JUANAZERO: A ZERO WASTE STORE OF MOTHER EARTH FOUNDATION
One of the programs of Mother Earth Foundation advocating for Zero Waste, is to also establish Zero Waste Stores for each of its Zero Waste Cities Partners. Thus, the organization included it on the BFFP PH Project to further strengthen the Solid Waste Program for its partner LGUs and address the program on single-use plastics. Unlike other Zero Waste Stores that can be found in Mega Manila, ‘JuanaZero’ serves the marginalized and the low to medium income communities. It offers products in reusable packaging such as basic condiments, soy sauce, vinegar, fish sauce and cooking oil. It also sells pasta, rice, soap, detergent powder, dishwashing liquid. Most of these products are locally produced to support the local economy of the LGU. Last September, JuanaZero Malabon Branch had its soft launch and its first customers were the waste workers that the organization worked with for the Solid Waste Management Program of the Cities of Malabon and Navotas. Currently, it offers more than 15 different products with reasonable cost to cater to the low to medium income community of Malabon and Navotas packed in reusable packaging. Customers can also bring their own container and enjoy discounts. JuanaZero is set to be offered to other MEF sites like Batangas City and Siquijor. All proceeds of JuanaZero goes to Waste Workers’ Scholarship Fund of MEF, supporting the education of the children of our hardworking waste workers in the different MEF ZW Sites: Malabon, Navotas, Batangas, Tacloban, Fort Bonifacio in Taguig, Nueva Vizcaya and in San Fernando, Pampanga. For more information, please visit: http://www.motherearthphil.org/
International Movement Seeks to Stop #Fracking4Plastics Antwerp Expansion
Open letter: A coalition of NGOs call on the European Union to fully transpose the Basel Convention’s plastic amendments for intra-European waste trade
[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"]Virginijus Sinkevičius Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, CC: Mrs Florika Fink-Hooijer, Director-General of DG ENVI (Environment); and Kęstutis Sadauskas, Director for Circular Economy and Green Growth. Dear Mr Sinkevičius, In May 2019, the 14th Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Basel Convention adopted groundbreaking new amendments to impose stricter controls on the trade of the most problematic plastic waste. Not only did the European Union (EU) vote in favor of this change but it also co-sponsored the amendments that were originally proposed by Norway. However, the European Commission, through a draft Delegated Regulation, has confirmed that it does not intend to transpose the new controls for plastic waste shipments happening within the EU. As it is, such a decision would have two main detrimental effects:
Rethink Plastic, part of the Break Free From Plastic movement, is an alliance of leading European NGOs working towards ambitious EU policies on plastics. It brings together the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), ClientEarth, Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), European Environmental Bureau (EEB), European Environmental Citizen’s Organisation for Standardisation (ECOS), Greenpeace , Seas At Risk, Surfrider Foundation Europe, and Zero Waste Europe. Together they represent thousands of active groups, supporters and citizens in every EU Member State working towards a future free from plastic pollution.
#BreakFreeFromPlastic is a global movement envisioning a future free from plastic pollution. Since its launch in September 2016, nearly 1,900 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. In Europe alone, 90 core organizations are active in more than 30 countries. 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. Sign up at www.breakfreefromplastic.org[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]
Environmental Health and Justice Groups Laud Removal of 7,408 Metric Tons of South Korean Garbage from Misamis Oriental
Tribal Communities vow to break free from plastic
West Bengal, India --- World Tourism Day 2020 was celebrated with a lot of excitement in the state of West Bengal, India, as the national parks and tiger reserves are set to open and welcome the tourists for the first time since March 2020. To commemorate the occasion, the tribal communities from West Bengal held a 3-hour long event at the Buxa Tiger Reserve. Members from Rabha, Dukpa, Garo, Adivasi, and Nepali community put up a display of their rich culture and traditions. The visitors and the tourists were inspired and appreciative when they came to know about the central theme of the event: Break Free From Plastic. The call to protect and preserve our surrounding environment has grown louder in the last decade. The rapid destruction and over-exploitation of natural resources have posed serious threats to the health of the people and the environment, forcing people from all walks of life to come out in the streets and demand for the immediate address of the rampant ecological destruction. Here in India, the story is not very different. The rising population and lack of necessary infrastructure to manage the pollutants have been major concerns for the authorities and citizens. The concern magnifies when we find plastic pollution making its way into some of the most pristine ecosystems, which are ecologically sensitive and hold a great significance in maintaining the biodiversity of our planet. Plastic packets have been found in elephant dung here leading to the demand of immediate intervention from the authorities and tourism stakeholders in the matter. Breaking free from plastic through tourism On the occasion of World Tourism Day 2020, the tribal communities of Dooars from Eastern India gathered inside the Buxa Tiger Reserve to raise vital awareness highlighting the menace of plastic pollution for the land, water, and all forms of life those live and thrive here. The event was jointly organised by ADTA (Alipurduar District Tourism Association) and Yugantar Pariwar, a non-profit working towards the empowerment of tribal communities in association with different tourism stakeholders of the region. Mr. Manav Bakshi, chairman of ADTA said that the call to break free from plastic is a landmark initiative and will pave way for eco-tourism in the north Bengal region of India. The communities, in their own unique way, through dances and songs, called for the corporations to opt for eco-friendly packaging of their products. Nature-based solutions to bags, packaging, and other aspects of daily lives are integral to the lifestyle of the tribal communities. The use of bamboo, different fibers, jute, and bio-degradable natural resources in their daily lives has helped the communities live with zero or minimum carbon footprint for centuries. Hence, their call to corporations to ‘break free from plastic’ and opt for cleaner, affordable and eco-friendly design of the products seems feasible and significant in present times. A more sustainable better normal after the pandemic The ongoing pandemic has forced the national parks and tiger reserves to shut down their gates for the tourists and with the lockdown getting eased in different parts of the country, tourism is set to restart, increasing the flow of tourists into these ecologically sensitive areas. From past experience, the locals have learned and realized that plastic pollution is bad for the environment and as well as for the tourism business, as it ruins the aesthetics, which is the prime catalyst of tourism. The event focused on two primary aspects -
Plastic Industry Must Take Responsibility for Their Packaging Waste Instead of Blaming Consumers
Indian government must enforce stringent Extended Producer responsibility (EPR) rules to ensure that plastic producers and brand owners take back their plastic waste instead of shifting the blame to the consumers and costs to the local authorities. The call was made by speakers at the India launch of ‘Talking Trash: The corporate playbook of false solutions to the plastic crisis’ a new report from The Changing Markets Foundation that reveals how behind a veil of nice-sounding initiatives and commitments to address the plastics crisis – the plastics industry, consumer brands, and retailers have obstructed and undermined proven legislative solutions to the crisis for decades. The report reveals how plastic producers and brand owners like Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Mars Incorporated, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Perfetti Van Melle, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever who have a joint plastic footprint of almost 10 million tonnes per year, lobby at every level to fight against proven solutions to solve the plastics crisis which would require them to fully step up their responsibility and take on the true costs of plastic pollution. Instead, they use distraction tactics, which are designed to make people think real change is happening or that responsibility for the problem lies elsewhere. Nusa Urbancic, Campaigns Director at the Changing Markets Foundation, said: “This report exposes the two-faced hypocrisy of plastic polluters, which claim to be committed to solutions, but at the same time use a host of dirty tricks to ensure that they can continue pumping out cheap, disposable plastic, polluting the planet at a devastating rate. Real solutions, such as mandatory collection of packaging, policies to increase reuse and phase out certain problematic plastic types or products, rarely feature in the voluntary approach and are fiercely fought against if proposed by policy-makers.” Plastic is pouring out into the natural world at a rate of 8 million tonnes a year, or one garbage truck per minute, and production has skyrocketed with half of all plastics ever made having been produced since 2005. Production is expected to double again in the next 10–15 years. Mr. P.D. Rai, former Member of Parliament from Sikkim said: “In the Himalayas, the plastic crisis is all-pervading despite the best efforts of the state governments and local Panchayats to ban all plastics. Extended Producer Responsibility, by which companies take back their packaging is the ultimate solution but there must be disincentives and penalties to successfully enforce such laws.” Ms. Priyadarshinee Shreshta, Joint Secretary of Integrated Mountain Initiative said: “The existing and proposed waste management rules are one size fits all, they do not recognise the fragility of mountains or the ecosystem services they provide. We urgently need to change the narrative from consumer behaviour to producer responsibility. Efforts taken by the corporations to reach their problematic products to remote corners should be matched by efforts to take them back or not make it at all.” Shibu K N, India Coordinator of GAIA-Asia Pacific, said: “In India, the proposed Uniform Framework for Extended Producer Responsibility (under Plastic waste management rules, 2016) have been formulated with inputs from industry associations to protect their business interests and profits, there was no consultation whatsoever either from State governments or local governments. It is unfortunate to see there is no concrete measures to reduce the use of plastics or safe recovery of plastics.” Talking Trash report has shown that voluntary initiatives and commitments by the industry rarely work and are in fact used across the world to undermine legislation. For this reason, policymakers should adopt progressive legislation, built on the following key elements:
1. The Plastic Waste Rules 2016 has clear and time bound commitments on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) which have still not been met despite the lapse of the prescribed deadlines and directions by the National Green Tribunal. The government needs to ensure that producers/brand owners meet their obligations under the rules at the earliest.
2. Develop a binding national packaging policy with timelines and targets.
3. Pass legislations aimed at phasing out of harmful chemicals used in packaging plastics such as BFRs, BPAs, Phthalates, Lead, etc.
4. Reverse the 2018 amendment to the plastic waste management rules and reintroduce the 2-year phase out deadline on multi-layered plastics.
5. Add EPR cess to plastic packaged products to promote non plastic alternatives and reduce tax tariff for plastic products maintaining stipulated percentage of recycled content.
6. The 2018 amendment to the plastic waste rules is a regressive step as it promotes false solutions such as mass incineration cement kiln co-incineration and plastic roads in the guise of recycling. The government should remove these practices from the scope of recycling.
7. Implement minimum recycled-content targets in the production of packaging and containers of at least 50%f for beverage containers and at least 30% for other items, as a starting point. This creates a market for effective plastic recycling and maintains plastic in a closed loop without downcycling the material.
8. Central or state governments should consider a tax on virgin plastic, which ensures the use of plastic is incentivized over virgin plastic. This should be accompanied with a clear position on the use of alternative materials, such as bio-based biodegradable and compostable plastic, with justifications for what is – and what is not – a good use of these materials.
9. Introduce bans on unnecessary or harmful materials, such as PVC and polystyrene.
10. Prioritise reusable alternatives and act to avoid regrettable substitutions – for example, replacing single-use plastic with other single-use materials, such as bio-based, biodegradable or compostable plastic – which do not fix pollution problems and may also lead to other environmental problems.
11. Indian urban local bodies should support the Zero Waste Cities approach by creating and implementing systems that continuously intend to phase out waste – not by incinerating, landfilling or exporting it, but instead by not generating waste in the first place.
12. India could spearhead the establishment of an intergovernmental negotiating committee at the United Nations Environment Assembly to negotiate a dedicated global agreement – a Convention on Plastic Pollution – that eliminates plastic discharges into the environment while also promoting a safe circular economy for plastics; one that addresses the full life cycle of plastics, from production and design to prevention and waste management.Download the full report through these links: https://talking-trash.com or https://changingmarkets.org/portfolio/talking-trash/ Download the India Case Study at: https://talking-trash.com/case-study/india/ An addendum has been added to the report, focusing on Indian policy scenario and the strategies corporations have used on a central and state level to delay and derail progressive legislation on plastics. View the addendum here.
Waste-to-Energy Incineration bad decision for PH, experts and scientists warn
Experts and scientists warned that the country will be heading to a more catastrophic situation if waste incineration is legalized. In an online forum organized by Green Thumb Coalition, No Burn Pilipinas and Break Free From Plastic Philippines on Tuesday, local and foreign experts-scientists laid down the causal effects of waste incineration on health, climate and agriculture. Dr. Jorge Emmanuel, who co-authored the World Health Organization’s guidebook on health care waste, said that the problem with trash burning is that it releases dioxins and furans however advance the technology and there are no safe limits when we are dealing with these toxic and hazardous pollutants. Dr. Jorge Emmanuel is also an adjunct professor in Silliman University and former chief technical advisor on global environment projects of the United Nations Development Program and leader of a UN team that helped contain the spread of Ebola virus in Africa. In his presentation, Dr. Emmanuel pointed out that a single drop of dioxin is enough to contaminate a medium sized lake and its inhabitants. Over a long period, this toxin could be passed on to humans by eating fish, eggs, pork, poultry and other meats that have accumulated dioxins. “Dioxins stay in our environment for hundreds of years and cause serious illnesses including cancer, birth defects and reproductive disorders among people exposed to it,” he said. Waste incineration is also a major carbon emitter. Lee Bell, POPs and Mercury Policy Advisor for the International Pollution Elimination Network (IPEN) highlighted a recent study by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), which shows incineration of plastic waste generates large quantities of carbon and carbon equivalent (CO2e) emissions. Waste incinerators, driven by high carbon content plastics and organic waste streams, currently release an average of around 1 ton of CO2 for every ton of waste incinerated. “368 million tons of waste are incinerated globally per year equating to annual emissions of around 368 million tons of CO2. That’s a huge amount of greenhouse gases added annually into our atmosphere,” Bell said during his presentation. As the climate crisis continues to worsen, access to food by Filipinos especially the poor and vulnerable sectors will be severely affected as well. This chain of reaction from incineration to health and climate and then onto our food production systems will reduce harvests, affect the quality of agricultural produce and increase its costs by as high as 25% in the next two decades according to Dr. Vicky Espaldon, a professor at the UP School of Environmental Science and Management and an awardee of the National Academy of Science and Technology for a book she has written.“An increase of 1˚C leads to about 8-14% decrease in rice yield during the dry season,” Dr. Espaldon said citing the study conducted by Lansigan et al., in 2007. “Tread carefully as impacts are serious and it [WTE] is a huge investment, it is better to invest in making sure that RA 9003 provisions are successfully implemented,” she added. As the forum drew to a close, Green Thumb Coalition convenor Jaybee Garganera vowed to echo these scientific evidences to legislators who are currently deliberating the passage of a bill that would allow waste incineration in the country. “The science and robustness of evidence we have gathered will complement our collective experiences on the ground to engage our senators like Gatchalian, Tolentino and Binay and make them understand the profound negative economic and health impacts of their policy actions such as the waste-to-energy law,” Garganera said. To view the recording of the forum, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/GTCNBP For more information, please contact: Angelica Dacanay, Green Thumb Coalition,0915-7828118 Geri Matthew Carretero, No Burn Pilipinas/BFFP PH, 0917-6216901 Jaybee Garganera, Green Thumb Coalition, 0917-5498218 ____________________________________________________________________________ About No Burn Pilipinas (NBP) – No Burn Pilipinas is an alliance of environmental, justice, climate, rights and health groups who are opposed to waste incineration, including thermal waste-to-energy, and are working to promote the Zero Waste approach to resource management. www.facebook.com/noburnpilipinas About Green Thumb Coalition –Green Thumb Coalition is the broadest network of civil society organizations in the Philippines working on cross cutting issues that threaten our biodiversity, climate, energy, food sovereignty and human rights. Its mission is to promote environmental consciousness among the electorate and make environmental issues central to every public policy and programs. About BFFP Philippines Project– The #breakfreefromplastic Philippines project is a collaboration of #breakfreefromplastic members EcoWaste Coalition, GAIA Asia Pacific, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Health Care Without Harm Southeast Asia and Mother Earth Foundation working towards a future free from plastic pollution. About the speakers: Dr. Jorge Emmanuel earned his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina State University in 1976 and 1978, respectively. He obtained the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering from University of Michigan in 1988. Certified in Public Health by the University of Iowa in 2006, he was also certified in Hazardous Materials/Environmental Hazards Management by the University of California, Berkeley in 1993 and a registered professional engineer by the State of California. Dr. Emmanuel is also a healthcare waste management expert. He co-authored the World Health Organization’s guidebook on healthcare waste. He led a United Nations Development Program Team sent to Africa to help stop the spread of Ebola virus by advising governments, training healthcare staff on infection control and installing waste treatment autoclaves. Lee Bell is the Mercury and Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Policy Advisor for the International Pollution Elimination Network (IPEN) and Senior Researcher for National Toxics Network (Australia) and has twenty years of experience in research and analysis of industrial pollution, hazardous waste, incineration, contaminated sites and associated issues. He has authored a range of reports and articles on the trade and impact of mercury, POPs and other pollutants on the environment and human health. He is currently a member of the Basel Convention Small Intersessional Working Group on POPs waste which evaluates incineration and non-combustion technologies for POPs destruction, Small Intersessional Working Group on D10 Guidance Review (incineration) and the Stockholm Convention BAT BEP and Dioxin Toolkit Expert Group. Dr. Maria Victoria Espaldon is the former UPLB Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension. A UP Scientist III and former DEAN of SESAM, Dr. Espaldon has a total of 58 publications, she is author and co-author of several articles in ISI and refereed journals as well as books and monographs. Her book titled “Changing Philippine Climate: Impacts on Agriculture and Natural Resources” received a National Academy of Science and Technology award. She was also named as UPLB Outstanding Researcher for Social Sciences in the senior faculty category in 2016. Currently, Dr. Espaldon is the program leader of the projects “Smarter Approaches to Reinvigorate Agriculture as an Industry in the Philippines (SARAI)”and the “Monitoring and Detection of Ecosystem Change for Enhanced Resilience and Adaptation (MORDECERA)”.
Can Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) Rise to the Challenge?
[et_pb_section bb_built="1" _builder_version="3.0.47" custom_padding="54px|0px|0px|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"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.98" background_layout="light"] As consumers become increasingly eco-aware, so too are businesses and governments looking to determine what the best environmental outcomes are. For many years, the de facto tool for decision-making support has been to conduct a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). LCA is a methodology for assessing environmental impacts associated with all the stages of the life-cycle of products, processes, or services. It can be used to create benchmarks in order to set targets for impact reduction or as a tool for comparative decision making. However, the method is increasingly coming under fire as the purveyor of less than sound or counterintuitive conclusions that might favour continued industrialization rather than a move towards a more harmonious relationship with the planet. The reasons for this and ideas for how LCAs can be rectified are discussed in our new report for Break Free From Plastic (BFFP). The following is a summary of key findings:
◾ Firstly, it’s important to recognise that LCA is merely a tool, and like many tools can be wielded inefficiently or incorrectly. It is used to answer a question and therefore the context and nature of the question will determine the answer. Whenever anyone asks me, “what is better, X or Y?” the answer is always “it depends”. It depends upon a whole series of assumptions as we attempt to create a simplified model of reality that can be used to answer that question, but is it also important to determine whether the question itself is the ‘right’ one in the first place. Why do we want a comparison between X and Y? what about Z? What if we changed the whole system so that X, Y and Z did not need to exist? What if the question were not which material is ‘better’ or is single-use better than reusable, but how can we design reusable systems that have the least environmental impact? A key aspect of this is design i.e. not looking at static systems, but understanding the design parameters we can change to optimise the environmental performance of the product or system.
◾ Businesses will almost always look to answer the narrower and more limiting questions and therefore receive answers in that similar vein—these answers can also be used to promote their products and the system they have created as the only ‘truth’. Making bigger decisions at a national or supranational level requires a broader perspective that can often be lacking. It is only by going back and questioning our fundamental assumptions that we can get to an objective truth.
◾ There is also the problem of communication when the results of an LCA study find their way into news headlines. This is similar to how we might often read about the results of a scientific study that has just been published in a journal. Often the studies are aimed at specialist audiences and therefore can often be misinterpreted by non-specialists. They are also not viewed in the context of the body of work that already exists; just like we don’t usually assume one scientific paper will change our world view of science on its own, so the findings of one LCA study should not override all existing work in order to grab headlines. Having a good understanding of the context in which the study sits and the importance of any accompanying assumptions is critical to interpreting it. And just like studies that might appear that say eating certain foods might increase health risks there are also ones that say the opposite and this can be true with LCA. These studies are generally not meant for public consumption or to influence individual behaviours (should I stop drinking coffee or should I buy that reusable bag or not?), but to aid in the wider discussion.These issues are nothing new to LCA practitioners, but they are not insurmountable. For example, practitioners themselves can be more cautious around only presenting their strongest and defensible results. They can attempt to understand the policy context in which their study sits and advise their clients accordingly. For the study commissioners themselves, it is important to aim to be as open and transparent as possible and be mindful of making claims beyond that which the study is valid for. Finally, for those reading these studies, recognising that the results are only as good as the question is a good start; questioning the very premise of the study can provide a new perspective. Realising that there are no absolute answers is also helpful, and just like any scientific paper, if we are to take the results seriously, looking for an independent peer review can give some security that an expert has already undertaken at least some due diligence on your behalf. Read “Plastics: Can Life Cycle Assessment Rise to the Challenge? (How to critically assess LCA for policy making)” here: [/et_pb_text][et_pb_button button_url="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jEJ31gfGE-0iErVpELbUl7FilwZ4Ng7h/view?usp=sharing" button_text="Read the full report" button_alignment="center" _builder_version="3.0.98" custom_button="on" button_font="||||||||" button_text_color="#ffffff"] [/et_pb_button][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.98"] About the Author: Simon Hann specialises in applying Life Cycle Thinking wherever a full understanding of how a product or process affects its environment may be needed, and is a Principal Consultant and LCA Specialist for Eunomia Research & Consulting, Ltd. His work looks into how diverse activities can contribute to our evolution into a society that embraces a Circular Economy. Much of Simon’s work is linked to how we can make this transition by keeping materials and resources within our technosphere. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]