MANILA, Philippines — Environmental advocates on Friday launched an online petition to call on e-shopping platforms to adopt practices that would reduce plastic packaging waste.
Several Filipinos turned to online shopping amid the implementation of the quarantine protocols that was imposed to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19.
In its co-sponsored petition, environment group Youth Strike for Climate Philippines and sustainable shopping advocate The Good Trade PH, cited that the e-commerce industry in the Philippines grew by 2018, outpacing the global growth rate of 21%.
“This is apparent in the huge popularity of e-shopping platforms such as Lazada and Shopee, where we have come to expect to have big monthly sales,” the groups said.
They said this worsened the plastic waste problem with the higher amount of waste produced annually.
“Each person contributes around 12.4kg of packaging waste, most of which end up in landfills and left to decompose slowly for hundreds of years. This problem is only magnified because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, where plastic waste is projected to increase by as much as 300%,” the groups said.
Aside from these, they cited that it only takes an average of just 12 minutes for plastic packaging to transfer from consumer's hands to the trash bin.
For the petitioners, corporations should be held accountable for the plastic they end up producing, especially the unnecessary plastic packaging.
Some sellers have cited that they have been implementing reduction and reuse strategies on their own initiative.
Reveal, reduce, redesign
In view of this, the groups are seeking 8,000 signatures via an online petition titled: It’s Time to Reveal, Reduce, and Redesign for Lazada and Shopee!” The online petition was created on Bataris.org, a platform funded by Greenpeace SEA-Philippines
“If consumers and sellers are already doing their share for a healthier planet, why can’t corporations take on the same responsibility and accountability? We’re calling the largest E-Commerce Companies in the Philippines, Lazada and Shopee, to be part of the #BetterNormal,” the petitioners read.
Particularly, the groups are asking the e-commerce platforms to reveal the packaging waste generated, reduce the current numbers on packaging waste and redesign current practice to incorporate zero waste and reuse systems.
The groups said publishing these estimates publicly also helps build confidence that the e-commerce platforms are committed to curbing its plastic packaging waste.
Meanwhile, the groups are calling on these shopping platforms to develop policies “that ensure the rational reduction of unnecessary plastic packaging.”
Aside from these, since the sellers are already doing their part, the groups said the e-commerce companies should capacitate small-to-medium-sized eco-friendly vendors, citing that some stores are already doing such initiatives.
“What better way to show support than to incentivize eco-friendly vendors who practice no-plastics rules by adopting biodegradable and compostable packaging and encouraging home composting, or vendors who sell eco-friendly products themselves?” the groups said.
Retailers like The Good Trade PH have sustainable compostable packaging, beauty brand Garnier Philippines launched eco-friendly packaging while courier Fifth Express also uses compostable packaging.
Some retailers such as The Good Trade PH already have sustainable compostable packaging on hand such as compostable mailers and honeycomb bubble wrap, and Lazada and Shopee can tap and work with them for more sustainable packaging solutions and eco-friendly disposal schemes.
Companies such as Loop, Zippies, Repack, Fachpack and e@Box Solution also pioneered in alternative models for packaging, incorporating return stations for used packaging for reuse.
The groups said e-commerce companies should tap these companies to also redesign their packaging and make them environment-friendly.
The online petition will be sent to the companies via e-mail. The groups will also hold a press conference after it reached the 1,000th mark.
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