By Madelaine B. Miraflor
Companies like Coca-Cola Philippines and Unilever Philippines – tagged as Manila Bay’s worst polluters – have committed to address Metro Manila’s so-called garbage crisis.
A statement showed that top executives of major companies have responded and committed to support Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu’s call for collaboration between the government and the private sector to address worsening waste problems in the Capital.
In a forum hosted by the Stratbase Group, Coca-Cola Philippines General Manager and President Winn Everhart said the company is on track to build a P1-billion PET bottle recycling facility, the first in Southeast Asia.
The move is seen to “substantially reduce the waste leakage in the Mega-Manila area”, he said.
Meanwhile, Unilever Philippines chairman Benjie Yap discussed his company’s “Zero Waste to Nature” program and its “ambitious new commitments to collect and process more than it sells and halve use of virgin plastic”.
The initiative commits to produce 100-percent reusable, recyclable and compostable packaging by 2025 and invest in technical solution to recycle sachets produced by the industry.
Unilever also presented ongoing environment programs such as the “Misis Walastik” which collects sachet waste in more than 300 communities in Metro Manila; the “Kole Kilo Kita para sa Walastik na Maynila” which incentivizes plastic waste collection under the “May Pera sa Basura” project of Manila; and other innovations in sustainable packaging and alternative delivery systems.
“A smarter approach other than the traditional regulatory tools imposing bans or taxes is to focus on instilling discipline for consumers to responsibly dispose of trash in parallel with enabling policies that encourage new innovations for packaging materials and waste management systems,” said Dindo Manhit, managing director and CEO of Stratbase Group.
“Stewardship of the environment should be everybody’s concern. The task to protect and preserve the environment is not just the government’s business, it’s everybody’s business,” he added.
A data from the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) showed that almost 164 million pieces of sachets are used in the Philippines daily, equating to around 59.7 billion pieces of sachets yearly.
It also specified that almost 57 million shopping bags are used throughout the country everyday, or roughly 20.6 billion pieces a year, while around three million diapers are being discarded on a daily basis. That’s 1.1 billion diapers annually.