SBMA, DENR to cut plastic pollution

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) will team up with the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-EMB) to promote the use of refillable containers as a means of reducing plastic wastes that harm the environment.

On Tuesday, November 19, the two agencies will introduce the “Refill Revolution” program to local residents and stakeholders of the Subic Bay Freeport during the 7th Recyclables Collection Event (RCE), which is a biennial recycling project of the SBMA.

SBMA Ecology Center manager Amethya dela Llana said “Refill Revolution” is designed to do away with sachets and “tingi” (small retail) packs that usually end up in drainage systems, rivers and other waterways, and eventually the sea.

“By buying in bulk, choosing products without much packaging and by using refillable containers for these products, we can help reduce wastes and prevent environmental pollution,” she added.

Dela Llana said that under “Refill Revolution”, participants can buy powder detergent at P30 per kilo; fabric conditioner at P20 per kilo; dishwashing liquid at P20 per liter; and hand soap at P20 per liter.

Accredited suppliers and sellers will also offer essential household items like soy sauce, cane vinegar, cooking oil, and brown sugar at reduced prices, she added.

Another new activity during the 7th RCE to be held at the Mini Golf Course here is the “Trash for Rice” project, which is a social development program of the Asia Processing Industry Association of Subic.

Dela Llana said “Trash for Rice” will exchange one kilo of rice for every one kilo of plastic or half kilo of cigarette butts. Organizers aim to collect 1,000 kilos of clean and dry plastic, sando bags, sachet, and cigarette butts, with a maximum of 10 kilos each for each pre-registered Subic Bay Freeport locator.

Like “Refill Revolution”, this project targets SBMA employees, Subic Bay Freeport business locators and workers, and residents of Olongapo City, Zambales and Bataan.

Yet another new highlight in the event is a Tire Upcycling Workshop, wherein participants from the SBMA and the Pastolan and Kanawan Ayta communities in the Freeport  would learn how used tires could be turned into artistic creations like plant pots, Christmas wreaths, chairs, and hammocks.

Meanwhile, various groups and business establishments will put up booths to showcase and sell local products and eco-friendly alternatives to plastic packaging.

At the same time, Dela Llana said the 7th Recyclable Collection Event will continue with its objective of facilitating the proper disposal of recyclables. This time, recyclers will take in paper and plastic, used clothes and footwear, and expired medicines and needles on top of regular recyclables like electronic wastes, used oils, lead acid batteries, busted light bulbs and lamps and tires.

The fees collected for the disposal of hazardous wastes are donated to the “Bantay Kalikasan” environment protection program.

Aside from the Recyclable Collection Program, the SBMA has initiated other environment-friendly programs and has banned the use of single-use plastics in the agency’s workplaces.
Dela Llana said every measure in reducing pollution is a big step for environmental protection and everyone can volunteer to help. “So turn in your waste materials, bring your own refill bottles and containers, and join us in loving back Mother Earth,” she added.