The Philippines, Aug. 31, 2011 (PBBR) - The Plastic Bag Regulation Act of 2011 has been approved by the House of Representatives of the 15th Congress of the Philippines. The measure, House Bill 4840, will regulate the use of plastic bags and also create a plastic bag recovery system.
"The State must ensure that contaminants to the environment, such as plastic and plastic bags, be prevented from being introduced into the ecosystem," said Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro), a co-author of the bill.
House Bill 4840 will require the phase out of non-biodegradable plastic bags within three years from the effective date of the measure.
"The phase-out of plastic bags is a practical contribution to the collective efforts of solving the country's environmental problems," said Rep. Aurelio Gonzales (3rd District, Pampanga), also a co-author of the measure.
Commercial businesses must provide to their customers a biodegradable plastic bag with a logo stating that the bag is made of biodegradable plastic or a statement saying "Please return to any store for recycling".
The bill mandates the placement of a plastic bag recovery bin at each store or cluster of stores. Recovery bins must be visible and accessible to the customers. The in-store recovery program will give customers the opportunity to return used plastic bags to establishments where the plastic bags originated.
Rep. Oscar Malapitan (1st District, Caloocan City), principal author of the bill, said "the recovery system will lead citizens to exert effort and give their due share in protecting the environment by bringing used plastic bags to stores and commercial establishments which in turn shall provide the logistics for recovery of these plastic shopping bags."
The recovery system is designed to reduce the volume of plastic bags in the environment, landfills and waterways. The Local Government Units (LGUs) are given the primary responsibility to decrease the percentage of plastic bag wastes produced within their respective territorial jurisdictions. They shall be tasked to collect, recycle and dispose of all plastic bags recovered by the stores.
The House of Representatives approved the Plastic Bag Regulation Act of 2011 on the third and final reading.
Earlier this year, Sen. Loren Legarda filed Senate Bill 2759, the Total Plastic Bag Ban Act of 2011 in the Phillipines Senate. Read "Philippines' Legarda Files Total Plastic Bag Ban Act."