Environmental organization Greenpeace Philippines called on consumer goods companies to be accountable for the waste they produce and eliminate all types of single-use packaging, rather than substituting one single-use material for another.
The call came following Nestle Philippines’ announcement that it will switch to paper straws for its ready-to-drink products to eliminate 130 metric tons of plastic straws by year-end. The volume is relatively negligible in comparison to the amount of waste generated by Nestle products each year, especially single-use sachets and packaging. The company has consistently been among the top corporate plastic polluters in global brand audit reports.
“Simply focusing on a small portion of the waste their products leave behind is unacceptable. Nestle’s plan still generates tons of waste and only swaps plastics with equally disposable substitutes. These are the kind of false solutions that distract us from the real source of the problem: the promotion of a throw-away culture that puts profit over people and planet,” said Greenpeace Philippines Campaigner Marian Ledesma.
The organization is challenging the labeling of paper products as “recyclable,” which takes accountability and responsibility away from companies like Nestle that have the resources to redesign their packaging and delivery beyond just disposable straws and transition to “better normal” business models, such as reuse and refill systems.
With recycling systems in countries failing to produce paper fibers of good quality, the majority of these paper-based alternatives end up in landfills. Greenpeace’s report on false solutions  noted that numerous exposés have demonstrated that recycling systems have failed to recover enough material to reduce demand for virgin plastic or to ensure proper disposal.  This and other problems in waste management are why reduction of plastic waste at source, through phase outs of disposables and a national ban on single-use plastic, is a more effective approach.
“If Nestle is earnest in its announcement to work toward a waste-free future, they should instead present an immediate and committed plan to phase out all types of single-use plastic and disposables in their products and packaging. They should replace all their sachets with reuse and refill systems in their retail operations to benefit consumers, especially those with little disposable income. Smaller businesses are already doing it. Focusing on straws is just another way for Nestle to greenwash current broken systems,” Ledesma said.
Greenpeace is strongly calling on the country’s top brands, including Nestle, to take a cue from local enterprises that have implemented effective and practical zero-waste modes of product delivery and packaging in recent years.  Post-pandemic, fast moving consumer goods companies that produce single use plastic waste need to adapt their systems for a waste-free better normal in the Philippines.
Brand Audit reports:
 In October 2019, a Greenpeace report exposed how multinational companies, such as Nestlé, Unilever, PepsiCo, and Procter & Gamble, continue to harm the environment by using paper and crops-based bioplastics, which cause deforestation and threaten food security. Moreover, chemical recycling offers false hopes and lock in demand for plastic packaging.
Greenpeace Malaysia (2018), ‘Malaysia and the Broken Global Recycling System.’ ‘https://www.greenpeace.org/southeastasia/ publication/549/the-recycling-myth/ 97
GAIA, (2019b), Discarded: Communities on the frontlines of the global plastic crisis, 22 April 2019; https://wastetradestories.org/wpcontent/uploads/2019/04/Discarded-Report-April-22-pages.pdf
Greenpeace Spain (2019), When Recycling Is Not Enough, (Spanish only); https://es.greenpeace.org/es/wp-content/uploads/ sites/3/2019/03/reciclar_no_es_suficiente.pdf
 Zero Waste SMEs:
Wala Usik, Negros Occidental. https://nolisoli.ph/61002/look-zero-waste-sari-sari-stores-negros-refilling-stations/
Ritual, Makati City. https://www.ritual.ph/
Croft Bulk Foods, Davao City. https://www.facebook.com/croftbulkfoods/