By Charissa Luci-Atienza
How about trading one kilo trash for a kilo of rice to help address massive garbage woes?
This was proposed by AANGAT TAYO partylist Rep. Harlin Neil Abayon III under House Bill 9170, which seeks to grant incentives to individuals who are into garbage segregation
“It is not enough that we appeal to Filipinos to return their plastic bottles and wrappers, and other solid wastes to redemption centers.
The thought of having to go back to the store carrying a load or bags of recyclable solid waste is not an attractive proposition,” Abayon said.
“However, when that prospect is matched and rewarded, consumers will think twice, especially when the reward is enticing like one kilo of commercial rice for every kilo of plastic waste deposited at the redemption center,” he added.
House Bill 9170 provides that solid waste collected shall be exchanged for rice, water, canned goods, basic household consumer items, or cash. Solid wastes include plastic bottles, wrappers, bags, sachets, metal canisters, unserviceable or used electrical and electronic devices, discarded hardware and recyclable computer parts.
Under the measure, the minimum exchange value of one kilogram of non-hazardous and recyclable plastic wastes is one kilogram of commercial quality rice or its cash equivalent, while for one kilogram of metallic, non-hazardous, recyclable waste is two kilograms of commercial quality rice or its cash equivalent.
Abayon said his proposal seeks to encourage households to segregate their waste at home, and in their kitchen.
“When Filipino families do their general house cleaning and knowing there are incentives for proper disposal of recyclable waste and junk, they will now set aside the disposables in a large bag or a large and go to the nearest materials recovery facility to exchange their junk and waste for cash or basic goods their families can use,” the deputy minority leader said.
“This is what we envision will happen when this bill is enacted into law. A whole nation actively engaged in segregating and recycling their waste because they are well-motivated to do so. Altruism and civic duty are good, but the fervor does not last for everyone. This bill would keep that fire of love for the environment alive and burning,” Abayon said.
HB 9170 tasks the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to be the lead implementing agency. The DENR is mandated to collaborate with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), to encourage individuals, households, civic associations, parents-teachers associations, homeowners associations, and non-profit institutions to gather and exchange collected non-hazardous and recyclable solid wastes.
Under the bill, the DENR, DA and DTI are empowered to set reasonable and compliance-inducing exchange values for graduated weights or volumes of solid wastes surrendered.
For hazardous waste recovery, Abalone’s bill authorizes the DENR, DTI, and DA to establish a Hazardous Waste Recovery Protocols and Reporting System, through which individuals may report the exact location and details of the suspected hazardous waste.
The bill provides that specially-trained and equipped personnel or teams may be deployed to safely recover the confirmed hazardous waste. The Hazardous Waste Recovery Protocols and Reporting System shall have a Cash Rewards feature to encourage the public to help government pinpoint and confirm the exact location of hazardous wastes.
For large-scale, corporate-level systemic recovery of solid wastes, the DENR, DTI, and Department of Finance would be tasked to adapt the Carbon Credits system for reducing carbon emissions to the realm of solid waste recovery and reduction.
HB 9170 provides that national government agencies shall also enable private corporations and government-owned or controlled corporations to establish special purpose corporations or joint ventures with the specific mission of redeeming and recovering plastic wastes.