MANILA, Philippines – Plastic waste has become one of the world’s biggest environmental problems. We’ve been seeing a record number of dead whales being washed ashore, their bodies full of plastic bags and wrappers. Photos of turtles with straws sticking up their noses or their shells stuck in six-pack rings have become a common sight on social media.
The good news is, people have become more aware of this environmental crisis.
More and more consumers are choosing the zero-waste lifestyle or at least one with a much less impact. What started as the strawless movement has now evolved into a “bring your own” (BYO) movement. This means bringing your own bags, containers, water bottles, utensils – practically anything that would keep you from using single-use plastics whenever you’re out to shop, eat, or what have you.
This pro-environment community is growing big and fast. The Facebook group called Buhay Zero Waste currently has over 44,000 members who are actively sharing their zero waste lives at home, in supermarkets, and even fast food restaurants every day.
Based on the data collected by Rappler Research from news reports and available information on each LGU’s respective websites as of August 2019, 65 local government units, including Quezon City, Pasig, San Juan, Baguio, Antipolo, and more have already implemented a plastic ban or have passed ordinances regulating plastic.
On the other hand, brands like Nestlé, Coca-Cola, and Shakey’s also have their own sustainability programs on reducing, reusing, and recycling plastics.
While the zero waste lifestyle is becoming mainstream, there’s still a lot of work to do when it comes to solving our plastic waste problem. The Philippines is the third largest contributor of ocean plastics in the world. And in an audit done by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, we dump nearly 60 billion sachets into our oceans in just a year.
This is shocking but not surprising. We are a third world country with a sachet economy, after all.
How do we bring the sustainability movement down to the grassroots level? That’s what Rappler’s #ManyWasteToZeroWaste campaign aims to do. In partnership with TheNerve, a data insights company, our goal is not just to encourage people to go strawless or to switch to shampoo bars, we want to educate communities about proper waste disposal, efficient recycling and upcycling systems, and other inclusive, sustainable solutions to address the plastics problem.
But we’re not asking them to do it alone. We’re building a network of climate advocates, corporations, non-governmental organizations, youth groups, and individuals who have the same mission: to work towards a more sustainable future. We will all be working together with the public to find responsible ways to use and reduce plastics.
How can you help?
You can start by participating in the #ManyWaysToZeroWaste prompts on Rappler's Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Share your thoughts, stories, and tips on how we can manage our plastic waste via social media using the hashtag. Soon, we will be launching events and programs where you can volunteer to be a part of this movement for a better, more sustainable future.
We know that the hard truth is we can’t eliminate plastics overnight. But everyone can do something about it today. – Rappler.com