Philippines Philippines holds public consultation on banning single-use plastics

On January 22, 2021, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of the Philippines invited various stakeholders for a public consultation to identify single-use plastic items to be included in Non-Environmentally Acceptable Products (NEAP) and Packaging Materials, according to a release by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) on January 28. The online consultation, organized by the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) chaired by DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, assembled 169 participants from the local government units, the private sector, and civil society organizations including Ecowaste Coalition and Oceana Philippines.

Benny D. Antiporda, DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units (LGU), and NSWMC Alternate Chair, described the consultation as one of the most important opportunities among the actions related to NEAP, which is expected to result in the completion of the list. He acknowledged that the preparation of the NEAP list has been postponed for a long time but expressed optimism about the completion and adoption of the list in the future citing the growing momentum to involve stakeholders in the implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 (RA9003) under the administration of President Duterte.

In the public consultation, NSWMC member Reynaldo Esguerra of the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) introduced the study titled “Findings on the Assessment Conducted on Certain Products for Inclusion in the NEAP List” conducted from October to December 2020. The study focused on the evaluation of single-use straws and stirrers commonly used for soft drinks and their equivalent alternative materials. In the simple risk assessment of straws conducted for four items, descending order of risk levels was as follows: glass straws (25 points), metal straws (23 points), plastic straws (17 points), and paper straws (10 points) (higher scores indicate higher risk). On the other hand, in the risk assessment of stirrers, wooden stirrers scored 10 points, which was lower than the 16 points for plastic stirrers.