PHILIPPINES - The local government of Makati City is banning the use of plastic bags, Styrofoam and other non-biodegradable packaging material for certain end use applications from January 2013.
According to the local government, all supermarkets, public markets, shopping malls/department stores, restaurants, fast food chains, convenience stores, canteens, eateries and similar establishments in Makati will “prohibited to sell, use or distribute plastic bags for use as primary or secondary packaging on dry goods, or as secondary packaging for wet goods.“
In addition, the government said, “The sale, use or distribution of Styrofoam (Polystyrene) and other materials with non-biodegradable Components that are being used as containers for food, drinks, dining utensils and beverages is also strictly prohibited.”
Among the products exempted from the order are plastic bottled products like bottled water, ice tea, cooking oil, alcohol, mayonnaise, jelly, peanut butter, coco jam, and the like. Also included in the exemption are plastic sachet products like shampoo and conditioner, soap/detergent, noodles; cosmetics; cigarette case; plastic bags used as primary packaging on wet goods with thickness of 15 microns above, and other similar products.
The businesses have the option to provide, for free or for a fee, paper bags, cloth bags, basket/woven bags made from biodegradable packaging materials, woven native bags and other similar materials in lieu of plastic shopping bags.
They also have to set aside space at the entrances and exits of their establishments for a “Plastic Bag Recovery Bin” for the collection, recycling and disposal of plastic bags.
The affected establishments have already been given a year from January 2012 to dispose of their inventory. Affected businesses now have to submit a quarterly report on their inventory of plastic, Styrofoam and similar packaging materials, to ensure the total phase-out of the banned materials by 2013.
Starting last week, Makati City began the deployment of 46 teams from the Plastic Monitoring Task Force (PMTF) to check and ensure that the businesses are adhering to the guidelines. Team leaders and inspectors will conduct simultaneous monitoring operations of establishments throughout Makati City.
In addition, the Makati Department of Environmental Services (DES) will deploy 45 teams, each composed of at least five members from the Makati Health Department Sanitation Division, Business Permits Office, Makati Action Center, Liga ng mga Barangay and DES.
Once the ban takes effect in 2013, individual violators will be fined P1,000 (US$24) or imprisoned for five to 30 days, or both at the discretion of the court, while an errant corporation or establishment will be fined P5,000 (US$120) or the owner may be imprisoned from 30 days to a year, or both at the court’s discretion. If warranted, the business permit or license may also be cancelled.
Makati is one of the 17 cities that make up Metro Manila, one of the most populous metropolitan areas globally. The financial centre of the Philippines, and located right in the center of Metro Manila, Makati has a population of slightly above half a million people.