In a bid to reduce the amount of trash that goes into landfills and to address marine plastic pollution, Senator Risa Hontiveros is pushing for a measure that seeks to ban single-use plastic straws and drink stirrers in the food service business.
Senate Bill No. 1866 otherwise known as “The Plastic Straw and Stirrer Ban of 2018” seeks to ban the use of plastic straws and stirrers in restaurants and other establishments. It prohibits food service establishments and/or other service establishments that serve beverages to offer consumers any single-use beverage straw and stirrer made of plastic or any other non-biodegradable material.
The measure also mandates food service establishments and other service providers occupying fixed spaces, such as sari-sari stores (neighborhood convenience stores), to prominently display signs informing their customers of their “no plastic straw and stirrer” policy.
“Through this proposed bill, we hope to start a national conversation on the need to reduce plastic pollution in our landfills and the oceans by discouraging people from using single-use plastic materials,” Hontiveros said.
The legislator said plastic straws and drink stirrers are considered by environmental advocates as “gateway plastics.”
“If we can persuade the people of the positive effects of not using plastic straws and stirrers, we can also encourage them not to use other single-use plastics such as bags and bottles.”
“The measure seeks to effect positive behavioral change among our people. We hope straws and stirrers will become ‘gateway plastics’ to convince people to shift from using plastic to reusable products. If we can persuade the people of the positive effects of not using plastic straws and stirrers, we can also encourage them not to use other single-use plastics such as bags and bottles,” the lawmaker said.
The bill provides penalties for food establishments caught providing plastic straws and stirrers.
The bill provides penalties for food establishments caught providing plastic straws and stirrers. First offense will merit a fine of P50,000. Second offense, P80,000, and third offense, a fine of P150,000 and the suspension of business permits for a period of one year.
However, the bill added that food service establishments may still provide suitable beverage straws to a person who requires a straw due to a disability or medical condition.
The lady senator said a recent waste audit showed that the Philippines was the third biggest contributor of plastic wastes to the world’s oceans, ranking only behind China and Indonesia. Much of the plastic the country consumes finds its way into the ocean.
The trash is of such magnitude that it has created six garbage patches in our oceans, with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch as the largest. It contains at least 79,000 tons of plastic debris that spans 1.6 million square kilometers, twice the size of France. Among the most common plastic products that are found in our oceans are beverage straws and stirrers.