MANILA — The Quezon City government has started banning single-use plastic or disposable materials in hotels and restaurants.
The ban, implemented on February 15, is based on a local ordinance passed last year.
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte earlier said the city government would give commercial establishments ample time to transition and that the ban would be implemented fully in the middle of February.
The local government measure follows efforts of other cities to address the plastic waste problem.
In addition to plastic blocking waterways in Metro Manila, the country has been tagged as among the worst plastic polluters in the world. Many consumer goods in the country are wrapped in single-use plastic that are not recycled, such as hygiene products in sachets.
Environmental group Ecowaste Coalition reminded the public to bring their own “reusable cutleries, cups, and containers for a better, cleaner, safer, and zero-waste dining experience.”
Groups on Facebook such as Buhay Zero Waste have also started posting about their experience in fast food establishments in the city that now use reusable plates and glasses for dine-in food. Coffee shops have also started using ceramic mugs.
In Quezon City Ordinance No. 2876, the local government council cited 2013 data showing that almost 10 percent of the city’s waste is recyclable plastic while 25 percent are residual waste, which cannot be recycled.
Of that volume of residual waste, 2.51 percent or 65.54 tons per day is laminate plastic.
The council pointed out that using plastic is not sustainable because of the “immense volume of oil” and energy used to recycle them.
Violating the single-use plastic ban in hotels and restaurants may lead to a fine ranging from P1,000 to P5,000, depending on the number of offenses. A third offense may also result in the revocation of an establishment's business permit and the issuance of a closure order.
Belmonte earlier told media that the city would also ban paper bags in groceries in two years. In the meantime, they are encouraging consumers to bring their own reusable bags.
Other Metro Manila cities that have regulated plastics use are Muntinlupa, Pasig, Makati, Las Piñas, Pasay and Parañaque.