The use of environmentally-destructive plastic bags and Styrofoams in packaging, specially for food and beverage products were strictly prohibited in Davao City.
The Davao City Ecological Solid Waste Management Ordinance of 2009 was passed by 2010 and was made effective two years after.
The ordinance regulates the use of recyclable, reusable and biodegradable checkout bags and containers mandating all stores, including ambulant vendors in Davao City to sell or provide only the following containers to customers:
- Recycled or recyclable paper bags;
- Biodegradable plastic bags;
- Reusable bags, such as cloth bags;
- Bags made of indigenous materials, such as buri, abaca, anahaw, bamboo and pineapple; or
- Used corrugated boxes or cartons.
Biodegradable plastic bags must be properly disposed like any other solid waste material and should not be thrown in canals, water bodies, vacant lots and other public places.
Shoppers or customers in all stores in Davao City are encouraged to provide for themselves reusable and recyclable shopping bags, when shopping or buying from stores.
Complete banning of non-biodegradable plastic bags and polystyrene foam as food containers were also delineated under this ordinance. Only recyclable, biodegradable or reusable containers are allowed to be used as a food and beverage containers.
The food and packaging industry are encouraged to develop more environmental-friendly containers to replace polystyrene food containers.
According to Mr. Joseph Dominic Felizarta, chief of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), instead of using plastics and styros, establishment owners could use the so-called bio-plastics. Bio-plastics are made from various types of degradable materials such as aliphatic polyesters.
Violators will be penalized accordingly. The offenders would shell out fines and/or will be required to render community services and attend seminars on solid waste management. Those who fail to attend the seminar will pay the fine and face charges. Here’s a list of penalties:
- First violation – Php 300 fines and required to attend a seminar on
solid waste management.
- Second violation – Php 500 fines or render community service for at
least five (5) days.
- Third violation – Php 1,000 fines or a 10-day community service.
According to Felizarta, stiffer penalties await those hard headed individuals who break the law such as imprisonment for up to six months. “The repetitive offender will also be required to pay the fine of Php 3,000 and render community service for 15 days,” he added.
As for plastics used to pack small items such as candies and snack foods, Felizarta said this would be treated as residual wastes that will directly go to the city’s sanitary landfills.
In addition, wastes that are unclassified are left behind by garbage collectors. Felizarta said that about Php 37 million was saved by the City Government from hauling services since the implementation of the policy 2 years ago.
Subsequent to its implementation, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-XI) expressed their appreciation to the City Government of Davao for this endeavor. They said that this measure significantly reduce the city’s burden on waste management that are very damaging to the environment.