Have you checked the current state of our environment with the amount of plastic waste used by online shopping? It’s time to assess ourselves. Have we been excellent consumers? Are we adapted to our environment? It’s time to be aware of what we add to our basket and what we add to our environment.
Online shopping has really benefited us all, especially now that we are currently facing a pandemic that limits us to going out and shopping. According to statistics85.7% of internet users in the Philippines use online shopping apps on mobile or tablet devices, while 80.2% purchased a product online.
While there is no doubt that online shopping has its advantages, let’s face it, it also poses a threat to our environment.
With the promise that your products will arrive at your doorstep safely, each package must be concealed with a load of bubble wrap and then put in a box, which will again be covered in plastic. Have you ever thought about where all that trash goes once you throw away the packaging?
Plastic pollution is one of the main problems facing the country. Reports say the Philippines is the third largest contributor with around 0.75 million metric tons of mismanaged plastics ending up in the ocean each year.
Without urgent action, global waste will increase by 70% by 2050 and plastics that are not collected or continue to be mismanaged will be the most problematic. A plain plastic bag takes up to 1000 years to break down and turn into microplastic, which in some cases is eaten by fish and other animals.
As a consumer and a concerned citizen, we can do a lot to help the community fight plastic pollution. Here are some ways to be a more conscious consumer:
Donate your plastic waste
Consider donating your plastic waste from your online shopping shenanigans, used plastic bags, bottles, etc. to organizations or companies that can turn plastic waste into something new.
Plastic Flamingo (Plaf) is a company that aims to fight marine plastic pollution and turn plastic into better products. In an interview with POP!, Plaf shared that their CEO Francois Lesage created The Plaf due to the growing plastic problem in the country.
“In fact, in 2010, PH ranked 3rd after China and Indonesia as the countries with the most mismanaged marine plastic litter. Recent studies show that around 1600 rivers are responsible for 80% of the total marine plastic pollution of the world. And out of these 1600 rivers, 30% of these rivers are located in the PH, with the Pasig River ranking first,” Plaf said.
With the rise of online shopping, The Plaf said they accept plastic waste from parcels. “Most of the plastics purchased online are LDPE type plastics, which is viable for our recycling formulation. While this may be good news for recycling, we always encourage individuals to be aware of the amount of plastic they consume due to online shopping. As one adds to cart, they add to ocean plastic waste.”
Apart from the plastic waste from the packages, they also receive tons of High density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP) types of plastics achievable with their recycling formulation.
With plastic pollution still a big problem, Plaf thinks refusing plastic is the best solution. With the huge amount of plastic waste backlog, Plaf collects and transforms plastic into recycled products such as eco-friendly wood. They have already collected more than 70 tons of plastic with their 128 public and private partnerships.
Their eco wood are made entirely from recycled materials consisting of 100% plastic waste. They assure you that their ecological woods are of excellent quality and with workability comparable to wood— rot-proof, maintenance-free and UV-resistant
Here are their drop-off points if you are interested in donating your plastic waste:
Support eco-responsible companies
Winder Recycling Company, also known as Envirotech, is a Davao-based company that recycles single-use plastics into products such as furniture, garden pots, etc. This company aims to reduce waste and avoid pollution. In an interview with owner Winchester Lemen, he explained that Envirotech was started in 2010. He mentioned that as an environmentalist, he turns single-use plastics into useful products.
Collected plastic waste will be separated, shredded, melted and molded into a new product.
“My father inspired me to do this because he was one of the pioneers in plastic production,” explained Lemen. He also added that consumers are approaching them and handing in their plastic waste to be recycled for better use. The products they receive the most are sando bags, candy wrappers and bottles.
According to them website, they were able to recycle 60 to 90 tons of plastic waste every month. Their business saves cutting down at least 22 mature trees and 30 tonnes of plastic equals 1,500 school chairs.
Lemen’s currency is “We ReUse you ReFuse”, where he mentioned in one article that candy wrappers, sando bags, water bottles that usually end up in landfills or in the canals can make a single school chair. 30 kilos of plastic, or 10,000 candy wrappers, or 2,181 bags of sando can already produce a single school chair.
Due to the pandemic, they are accepting minimal donations at their Taytay branch. Lemen clarified that they are currently not opening doors to everyone and that their factory in Zambales is temporarily closed for the safety of their workers. Announcements will be made on warehouse reopening dates.
As consumers and humans who live for free on Earth, it is our responsibility to take care of our environment— even the smallest action can help in a big way. Think, act and choose responsibly when buying from online stores.
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