The latest Global Brand Audit of the Break Free from Plastic Movement (BFFP) revealed that multinational companies, particularly those producing fast-moving consumer goods, have had very little to zero progress in their efforts to reduce their plastic footprint despite their commitment to do so in the past few years.
Now on its third year, BFFP brand audits are a global effort where plastic waste from six continents are collected and counted by volunteers. Building from the usual clean-up activities, it identifies the brands of each individual plastic waste, in a bid to shift the responsibility of managing waste from consumers to producers.
In the Philippines, 38,580 pieces of plastic waste were collected from August to September this year and local analysis showed that majority of the plastic trash were products by Universal Robina Corp., Nestle and Colgate-Palmolive.
Across the world, the most common product types found in plastic waste were food packaging, such as food wrappers, sachets, coffee cup lids and beverage bottles, smoking materials such as cigarette butts, and household products such as shampoo and laundry detergent bottles. Since this year’s global audit was done amid the coronavirus pandemic, volunteers also recorded discarded surgical masks and gloves.
Regional coordinator for Greenpeace Southeast Asia Abigail Aguilar said the latest audit remains a call for corporations to publicly disclose the amount of single-use plastic items they produce each year, as well as set clear, ambitious and measurable targets on how they can reduce their global plastic footprint. Groups also called on companies to reinvent how they package their products and explore efforts in alternative delivery system models such as reuse and refill stations.
Zero waste programs have been gaining ground in some cities and municipalities in the Philippines but these actions have been dampened by the COVID-19 pandemic which has led to increases in plastic waste, this time from home deliveries amid the lockdowns.
Increased plastic use has been one of the side effects of this pandemic but we have to remind ourselves of the reason it was important to reduce our dependency on single use plastics in the first place. As we navigate the new normal, we have to continue being aware of the impact of plastic waste on the planet and the responsibility of producers and consumers alike in reducing that preventable damage as much as we can.*