House passes bill banning single-use plastics

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The House of Representatives passed a measure seeking to phase out single-use plastic products, as well as prohibit their production, importation, sale, distribution, provision and use within four years. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 29) — The House of Representatives passed a measure seeking to phase out single-use plastic products, as well as prohibit their production, importation, sale, distribution, provision and use within four years. 

With a 190-0-1 vote, lawmakers approved House Bill 9147 on Wednesday. The bill proposes that within four years, the following non-compostable plastic products must be phased out:

- plates and saucers

- cups, bowls, lids

- cutlery like spoons, forks, knives, chopsticks

- food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene

- oxo-degradable plastics

- film wrap, packaging or bags of less than 50 microns in thickness

- sachets and pouches that are multi-layered with other materials

Meanwhile, the bill allowed a leeway of only one year to phase out the following items:

- drinking straws

- stirrers

- sticks for candies, balloons and cotton buds

- buntings

- confetti

- packaging or bags of less than 10 microns in thickness

Afterwards, these products should no longer be produced or sold in the country. However, drinking straws for persons with disabilities shall be allowed when no suitable reusable alternative is available, the measure stated.

Compostable plastics are allowed provided that the items will have a logo indicating that it is compostable. They shall be subjected to standards developed by the Trade Department, the bill said.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment shall come up with the phase-out plan that will cover reduction in consumption and recycling or proper disposal of the single-use products as well as producer responsibility.

Large, medium and small enterprises shall be fined not less than ₱250,000 and not exceeding ₱500,000 for the first offense, not exceeding ₱750,000 for the second offense, and not exceeding ₱1 million for the third offense.

Micro and smaller businesses will have smaller penalties at not less than ₱50,000 and not more than ₱100,000 for the first offense, not more than ₱300,000 for the second offense, and not more than ₱500,000 for the third offense.

Businesses will also have their permits revoked after the third offense.

Environment conservation group World Wildlife Fund-Philippines lauded the House's move, saying it will bring closer its goal of removing plastics in nature by 2030.