Munti strengthens ban on plastic

MANILA—After banning the sale and use of plastic bags and polystyrene containers for goods bought in commercial establishments, the Muntinlupa City government is now encouraging residents to use reusable containers when buying take-out food.

City Administrator Byron San Pedro said the measure was decided on as the city government observed that canteens and other small-scale food vendors were still using plastic bags for customers who buy and take out food from them.

“Our anti-plastic policy only allows the use of plastic bags as packaging for wet goods, but canteens and carinderias have continued to use them for take-out food,” San Pedro said in an interview.

The city has begun implementing the measure among its 6,000 employees, directing them to bring reusable containers and asking storeowners to place the take-out food in these containers.

By extension, the city government also urged its employees to bring mugs and glasses to hold take-out beverages.

Employees who violate the directive are subject to administrative sanctions, San Pedro said.

“Meanwhile, we have sent our people to canteens and restaurants with the message for them to provide reusable containers for their customers who want to take out food from their establishments,” San Pedro said.

He noted that the city government chose to implement the measure on the government employees first so that they can become role models for Muntinlupa residents.

“By July, we hope we can come up with the proper decree so this could be formally applied to the public,” San Pedro said.

In 2010, Muntinlupa became the first local government at least in Metro Manila to ban plastic bags as packaging for goods bought in commercial establishments. The ban was legislated in an ordinance, which also prohibited the use of polystyrene containers and the sale of plastic bags.

San Pedro said the plastic ban has led to lesser flooding in the city and significantly reduced plastic garbage collected from houses and commercial establishments in the city. /Inquirer

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2 Responses

  1. Marcus says:

    Bullshit. This plastic campaign is not helping the environment! Do you have any Idea how many trees need to be cut down to make these paper bags? probably in the MILLIONS! These trees prevent flooding and soil erosion. Because of the plastic ban, many forests have been cleared and there are more flooding and less oxygen as a result.

    Not to mention the immense inconvenience all of this is causing. If we bring plastic containers how much fresh water do we have to spend washing them afterwards? Or soap which takes so much gasoline and labor to produce?

    What they should have implemented is a strict segregation of plastic and other recyclables so plastic can be reused. Plastic is not harmful to the environment if collected properly and re-made again into plastic products.

    Advanced, Environment-loving countries such as Germany, Denmark, Sweden, etc… actually ENCOURAGE the use of plastics vs. paper. All they do is strictly segregate recyclable garbage and reuse them so they don’t fill up the dump sites.

    This is such a charade. I WILL NOT VOTE, WILL NOT VOTE!!! FOR ALDRIN SAN PEDRO. May his political career rest in peace.

    Alabang Resident.

  2. Feanne says:


    The paper bag industry has responded to the plastic industry’s concerns in this article:

    To summarize:

    1. Philippine paper products, including paper bags, are made from recycled paper fiber.

    2. “In countries where paper is made directly from trees (virgin pulp), the trees claimed to have been cut (the correct figure is 12 to 14) did not come from virgin or natural forests but were harvested from tree plantations or robust forests sustainably managed under responsible stewardship or through state-regulated timberlands.”

    3. Even if plastic bags are recovered and recycled, they are just downcycled. That’s a BIG “IF” by the way. Most people just don’t care. The “advanced environment-loving” European countries you mention have disciplined and educated populations. Before we can implement similar policies, we have to educate our population here FIRST. Plastic-strewn rivers and seas indicate that there is not enough public awareness and concern about the careless disposal of plastic waste.

    4. “The original plastic bag material, polyethylene, comes from petroleum and is imported into the Philippines as virgin resin in the form of pellets.” Plastic is made from fossil fuel, a non-renewable resource (okay, technically it’s renewable but it takes like millions of years). Extracting and processing this resource involves plenty of: destruction of natural habitats, harm to local communities, toxic waste by-products.

    5. Producing and recycling paper products has less of a carbon footprint compared to plastic. It also uses less water. In case it isn’t recovered, it’s not as harmful as plastic because it is more compostable, it doesn’t clog drainages, and if animals accidentally ingest it they aren’t really harmed (as compared to turtles eating plastic bags they mistake for jellyfish).

    I will add that plastics contain harmful chemicals like BPA and VOCs. These leach into our beverages and indoor breathing air. The environmental and public health costs of producing and using plastic are too great to ignore. Plastic use needs to be heavily regulated. There is NO GOOD REASON for using it as a material for one-time-use, mundane disposable things such as shopping bags! The paper industry is far from perfect but it is, at the very least, a lesser evil.