SMC will shift to biodegradable plastics for packaging

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has announced its partnership with Philippines Bioresins Corporation for its move to shift packaging on fully-certified biodegradable plastics for its food and non-food products.   

“The SMC is tapping a small but innovative company that has successfully developed and tested the technology on biodegradable plastics, disclosed by SMC honcho Ramon S. Ang.

According to SMC, it is set to use biodegradable plastics packaging for products, such as cement and feed sacks, grocery bags and food and other single-use plastic packaging.

“Initially, we will use it for cement packaging. What we will use is a biodegradable plastic woven packaging, or sack. This is proudly developed by Filipino inventors, using local materials, and made by local workers,” said Ang, who is the president and chief operating officer of SMC.

The move will be the newest addition to San Miguel’s sustainable business models, which include the zero-waste returnable glass bottle system, and manufacturing processes following circular economy principles–where by-products are re-used to create other products.

Philippine Bioresins Corporation has tested the technology in the last five years, said SMC, and the company recently secured an Environmental Technology Verification certificate from the Dept. of Science and Technology (DOST) Industrial Technology Development Institute.

The DOST verification confirmed that the biodegradable polypropylene produced by the company will be 64.65 percent degraded in 24 months as compared to non-biodegradable plastics (4.5 percent in 24 months).

“We have always been looking for innovative environmental technologies,” added Ang, “and we are excited about this development. We are looking forward to using biodegradable plastics, and this is just the beginning, as they are developing other technologies in this field.”

“The country’s stature as the world’s third largest plastic polluter to global waters, should be enough motivation for people and companies to try and find ways how to lessen their impact on the environment,” Ang emphasized.

In addition to using biodegradable cement bags, the company’s cement business also currently buys plastic water bottles and bags, for use as fuels for its cement plants. It also uses discarded rubber tires and industrial sewage waste as secondary fuel for its cement plants.  

The effort is another way for SMC to help turn plastic wastes that would have otherwise ended up in landfills or bodies of water, into useful and much-needed products—in this case, cement, which is used to construct buildings and infrastructure.

The giant corporation said that is is serious when it comes to sustainability and it has started to forge partnership with leading stakeholders in the private and public sectors to attain its goal.

“We have stopped our plastic bottled water business; we have taken on the challenge to reduce group-wide non-product water use by 50% by 2025, and we’ve poured more resources into major projects to clean up bodies of water as well as into research that supports plastic waste reduction,” Ang underscored.

Last March, San Miguel started collaborating with leading materials science company Dow Chemical to study using hard-to-recycle plastics as an alternative raw material for road surfacing, in order to reduce the volume of scrap plastics that end up in the landfills.

Earlier this year, SMC also announced a partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to clean up and revive the Tullahan River as part of efforts to rehabilitate the Manila Bay. It will be investing P1 billion for the initiative.

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