Philippine environment groups belonging to the About BFFP movement launched their activities at the opening of the celebration of the National Zero Waste Month. The Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) is a global movement working towards a future free from plastic pollution.

In a webinar held last January 5 titled “Ang Tira, Gawing Bongga!”, Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner of Ecowaste Coalition, said that the whole country generates over 40,000 tons of garbage per day not to mention the pile-up of disposable face masks due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“After the holiday festivities, we find our bins filled to the brim again as if we are not yet throwing enough throughout the year. This is what we coined as “holitrash”, meaning trash that we accumulate from the holiday season composed of disposable food containers, plastic and other packaging wastes, and food leftovers,” he bared.

 The virtual event talked about Holiday Food Waste Management, Vegan Food Demonstration and Bokashi Technology. “Celebrations need not make the garbage situation worse. By consuming sustainably and by willfully segregating, reusing, recycling or composting discarded materials, we can all be part of the solution. For instance, food leftovers can be recycled and bring on new twists to be utilized again by the households. Biodegradable discards such as fruit and vegetable peelings can also be composted at home or at the barangay composting facility. These simple ways of managing food leftovers can reduce what is going into the bins or landfills, ” he said.

Through Proclamation No. 760 in 2014 by then President Benigno Aquino III which declared January of every year as Zero Waste Month, the celebration also aims to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use.

“Zero Waste Month is pursuant to Republic Act (RA) 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 so this is a crucial time to really heighten our call for environmental awareness and action among Filipinos, as well as in the development of national and local integrated, comprehensive and ecological waste management policies and programs,” said Rei Panaligan, National Coordinator of BFFP PH Project.

“ We cannot allow business as usual for corporations and policymakers. Let us also bear in mind that we are still in a pandemic and climate emergency. Thus, the celebration of Zero Waste Month is a very important event to call them out to drop the legalization of practices that will continue to pose threats to public health and violate environmental laws such as the continued production and consumption of single-use plastics and garbage incineration in the guise of waste-to-energy plants,” said Sonia Mendoza, Chairman of Mother Earth Foundation.

“ We also urge our policymakers to pass sustainable and comprehensive waste management policies and support safer practices that would reduce waste with respect to the Clean Air Act and Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, including the international Paris agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,” added Glenn Ymata of No Burn Pilipinas.

The groups said that more activities will be held during the month-long celebration with “Zero Waste” as an advocacy campaign to guide people, businesses, and institutions in changing their lifestyles and practices towards sustainable systems in an ethical, economical, and efficient way, and to ensure that wastes become valuable for other uses.

About BFFP

The Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) is a global movement working towards a future free from plastic pollution. The BFFP PH 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 in partnership with Oceana International Philippines.

Writeup courtesy of  Geri Matthew Carretero, Break Free From Plastic PH Project Communications Officer