Taxing single-use plastics

THE House Ways and Means Committee has approved House Bill (HB) 178 or “An Act Imposing Excise Tax on Single-use Plastic Bags.” This is a step in the right direction.

The unrelenting production, consumption and disposal of single-use plastics pose a major hindrance in community efforts to attain the zero waste goal. Companies making and using single-use plastics must take responsibility for the endless garbage woes afflicting communities.

If passed, HB 178 will impose a P20 tax per kilogram of plastic bags. According to the House Ways and Means Committee chair Rep. Joey Salceda, this could generate P4.8 billion in revenues for the government within a year of its implementation. The revenues may be used for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction initiatives and environmental protection programs.

Pending in the Upper House is Senate Bill 40 or the “Single-Use Plastics Regulation and Management Act of 2019.” It proposes a ban on the manufacture, importation, and use of all single-use plastics, particularly disposable plastics commonly used for plastic packaging and food items such as grocery bags, food packaging, films and bags, manufacturing water bottles, straws, stirrers, containers, Styrofoam/styros, cups, sachets, and plastic cutlery. Recycling single-use plastics will also be incentivized. When will this bill be approved?

Our legislators must recognize the seriousness of the plastic garbage problem – the huge volume of residual plastic waste, especially plastic bags, sachets and other single-use plastics. Companies should assume responsibility for the plastic waste pollution besetting communities, be accountable, and not simply pass the burden to the local government and the people to clean these up. 
To drastically reduce the waste that our homes and communities generate, we need companies to switch from single-use, throw-away packaging to alternative product delivery systems. We hope companies, especially the top companies contributing to branded pollution, will heed our plea for plastic use and waste reduction, and move away from wasteful disposable product packaging. Government taxing single-use plastic bags is a step in the right direction.


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