Updated: Nov 5
Zero Waste to Nature Journey.
Is it even possible?
A decade ago, if someone had asked me about achieving a zero-waste world, I'd have responded with skepticism. The overflowing trash during our beach cleanups in Zambales, where I serve as the Area Coordinator for the International Coastal Cleanup Philippines and Managing Director of the Lighthouse Marina Resort Legacy Foundation, seemed insurmountable. It felt as though the waves of waste were relentless, always outpacing our efforts.
But times have changed, and so has my perspective.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
No individual, regardless of commitment or resources, can single-handedly combat the waste crisis. It necessitates a synchronized effort from policymakers, industries, and consumers.
EVERYONE, from government leaders to ordinary consumers, holds the brush to paint a green future.
Our planet is at a tipping point. We're consuming and wasting at rates that aren't sustainable and to change course towards a zero-waste world is just impossible to attain.
The Economic Model Dilemma: Linear vs. Circular
At present, the world runs on a linear economy—
extract, produce, consume, and discard.
Yet, this model blinds us to its true costs: immense waste, environmental pollution, and irreversible ecological harm. It's an outdated system that hinges on mass production and a throwaway culture.
In contrast, the circular economy operates in harmony with nature. Instead of a one-way path culminating in waste, resources continuously cycle—used, recycled, reused. This sustainable model emphasizes sharing, maintenance, and the principle of "waste not, want not."
Turning the Tide: Steering the 'Zero Waste to Nature 2030' Vision
My journey has now led me to the role of Program Director for 'Zero Waste to Nature 2030' under the Philippine Alliance for Recycling and Materials Sustainability.
It's invigorating to join forces with visionaries across sectors, all dedicated to transforming our nation's approach to waste.
Because technology alone won't solve our issues. At its core, change is fueled by communities, collaboration, and meaningful partnerships.
The spirit of sustainability thrives on collective ambition and enduring bonds between people.
Beyond the Price Tag
Our buying choices have repercussions.
A new pair of shoes, for instance, carries costs often unseen: from environmental footprints to societal implications. We must recognize the broader stories products tell, looking beyond the glimmer of advertisements.
Embracing Global Standards with SDG 12
The United Nations' SDG 12 is more than just a guideline—it's a compelling call to action. It advocates for a global shift to sustainable consumption and production, emphasizing innovation, efficiency, and a decisive reduction in waste.
Journey to Zero Waste: A New Dawn with the EPR Law
In the face of mounting waste challenges, the Extended Producer Responsibility Act of 2022 shines as a beacon. Mandating corporations to be accountable for their products throughout their lifecycle, this groundbreaking law paves the way for an eco-friendlier Philippines, fostering sustainability and green entrepreneurship.
What is the EPR Law?
This legislation obliges large enterprises to manage the plastic packaging of their products' environmental impact, from design to end-of-life disposal. It targets plastic items used for packaging, including various forms of plastics, classified as Rigids and Flexibles.
Large Enterprises must create an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program that involves measures like reducing plastics, adopting reusable items, enhancing recyclability, adopting an MRF, and setting up recovery & recycling centers.
These initiatives can be carried out individually or in groups, and reports must be submitted to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
While non-compliance brings penalties, compliant businesses receive incentives, propelling them towards a circular economy mindset.
A significant reduction in emissions and the ushering in of cleaner, trash-free marine environments.
This legislation is not just regulatory; it's transformative, heralding an era of green revolution in the Philippines. It's a catalyst for creating sustainable job opportunities and promoting enterprises that prioritize environmental consciousness at their core.
For more information on the EPR law, you may view the official EPR Documents from DENR-EMB below:
Why the EPR Law is a Game-Changer in Our Journey to Zero Waste
Today's choices sculpt tomorrow's reality. As conscious consumers, understanding and supporting progressive waste management is crucial.
Embracing practices like waste minimization and proper segregation is a start. Engaging in local recycling programs, deposit-refund schemes, and other green initiatives propels us further.
As Jonathan Co, President of Sentinel Upcycling Technologies, aptly put it, "A sustainable Philippines, and by extension, a sustainable planet, is one where citizens are acutely aware of the repercussions of their choices."
In essence, zero waste isn't just a trend; it's a vision—a call for change. Let's champion a circular, eco-friendly world, together. 🌍🌱
Understanding and advocating for effective waste management policies is more than a responsibility—it's our legacy.
I invite all of you to be part of this pivotal movement as we sail towards the horizon of zero waste. Let’s immerse ourselves in the spirit of the EPR Law, understand its mechanisms, and harness its potential. Be the vanguards of change. Foster sustainable practices, immerse yourself in community recycling efforts and ignite a nationwide transformation towards ecological balance.
Video: ICC 2013 Video Documentary
Video: EPR Moodsetter Video
Video: EPR Explainer Video
About the Author
Zed Avecilla is the Managing Director of the Lighthouse Marina Resort Legacy Foundation, a subsidiary of the Lighthouse Marina Resort in Subic Bay Freeport, and an awardee of the ANAHAW Philippine Sustainable Tourism Certification by Zero Carbon Resorts. He is also the Program Director for Zero Waste to Nature Ambisyon 2030 of the Philippine Alliance for Recycling and Materials Sustainability (PARMS) and the Area Coordinator of the International Coastal Cleanup Philippines.