With Filipinos increasingly taking interest in adapting an eco-friendly lifestyle, Senator Risa Hontiveros files a bill to help support this initiative.

By Allyza Quirante

Senate Bill No. 1866 or The Plastic Straw and Stirrer Ban of 2018 seeks to ban single-use plastic straws and drink stirrers in the food service industry, including your neighborhood’s sari-sari store. The measure also mandates establishments to display signs informing customers of the “no plastic straw and stirrer” policy.

Suitable beverage straws may only be provided to people with disabilities or medical conditions who require its use.

The Bill marks the beginning of creating a “national conversation” about the country’s dependence on plastic. According to Statista, The Philippines was found to be the third biggest contributor of plastic wastes to the world’s oceans, only ranking behind China and Indonesia. The waste audit shows that we produced approximately 1.9 million metric tons of waterborne plastic waste.

City ordinances banning the use of plastic bags have already been implemented since 2011, starting with Muntinlupa’s Bring Your Own Bag policy. Similar policies are seen in Pasig, Las Piñas, Pasay, Quezon City, and Makati. However, a comprehensive law is still in the works.

In 2016, Senator Loren Legarda filed Senate Bill 430 or the Plastic Bags Regulation Bill, which is pending in the Senate. It promotes the use of reusable bags and minimizes the use of single-use plastic bags.

Aside from teaching establishments to limit their use of plastic, the Bill also aims to encourage a shift in perspective for consumers. Senator Hontiveros explains, “The measure seeks to effect positive behavioral change among our people. We hope straws and stirrers will become ‘gateway plastics’ to convince people to shift from using them to reusable products.”

Surprisingly, this change is already beginning to take place. People have started advocating the use of eco-friendly alternatives online such as metal straws, tumblers, and reusable utensils.

Local entrepreneurs have even ventured into making reusable facial pads and menstrual products for women. It is safe to say that we can anticipate more innovative, eco-friendly products and practices making waves in the country soon.