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POP! is INQUIRER.net’s premier pop culture channel, delivering the latest news in the realm of pop culture, internet culture, social issues, and everything fun, weird, and wired. It is also home to POP! Sessions and POP! Hangout,
OG online entertainment programs in the
Philippines (streaming since 2015).

As the go-to destination for all things ‘in the now’, POP! features and curates the best relevant content for its young audience. It is also a strong advocate of fairness and truth in storytelling.

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Have you checked out the current state of our environment with the amount of plastic waste used by online shopping? It’s time to rate ourselves. Have we been excellent consumers? Are we accommodating to our environment? It’s time to be aware of what we add to our cart and what we add to our environment. 

Online shopping truly benefited all of us, especially now that we are currently facing a pandemic which limits us to go outside and do our shopping. According to statistics, 85.7% of internet users in the Philippines use online shopping applications on mobile or tablet devices, while 80.2% purchased a product online. 

While there is no doubt that online shopping has its advantages, let’s face it, it also carries a threat to our environment. 

With the promise of your products reaching your home safely, each package has to be concealed with a load of bubble wrap then put into a box, which will be covered with plastic again. Have you ever thought about where all this waste goes once you throw the packaging away?

Plastic pollution is one of the main problems the country is facing. Reports say that the Philippines is the third largest contributor with about 0.75 million metric tons of mismanaged plastics that ends up in the ocean every year.  

Without urgent action, global waste will grow by 70% by 2050 and plastics which are not collected or continue to be mismanaged will be the most problematic. A single plastic bag takes up to 1000 years to decompose and turn into microplastic, which in some cases gets eaten by fish and other animals.

As a consumer and a concerned citizen we can do a lot in helping the community with dealing with plastic pollution. Here are some way you can be a more conscious consumer: 

Donate your plastic waste

Consider donating your plastic waste from your online shopping shenanigans, your used plastic bags, bottles, etc. to organizations or companies that can turn plastic waste into something new.

Plastic Flamingo (Plaf) is a company that aims to tackle marine plastic pollution and transform the plastic into better products. In an interview with POP!, Plaf shared that their CEO Francois Lesage created The Plaf because of the increasing plastic problem in the country. 

“In fact, in 2010, PH ranked 3rd after China & Indonesia as country with the most mismanaged marine plastic waste. Recent studies show that roughly 1600 rivers are accountable for 80% of total marine plastic pollution of the world. And of these 1600 rivers, 30% of these rivers are situated in the PH, with Pasig River ranking first,” Plaf stated. 

With the rise of online shopping The Plaf shared that they accept plastic waste from parcels. “Most online shopping plastics are LDPE type of plastic which is viable for our recycling formulation. As much as this may be good news to recycling, we still encourage individuals to be aware of how much plastic consumption they have due to online shopping. As one adds to cart, they add to oceanic plastic waste.”

Beside plastic waste from parcels they also receive tons of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and Polypropylene (PP) types of plastics that are feasible with their recycling formulation.

As plastic pollution remains a big problem, Plaf believes that refusing plastic is the best solution. With the huge amount of backlogs of plastic waste, Plaf collects and transforms plastic into recycled products such as eco lumber. They have already collected more than 70 tons of plastic with their 128 public and private partnerships.

via Plaf website

Their eco lumbers  are completely made from recycled materials that consist of 100% plastic waste. They assure you that their eco lumbers are excellent quality and with workability that is comparable with wood rot proof, maintenance free and UV resistant  

Here are their drop-off points if you’re interested in donating your plastic waste:

online shopping environment
via Facebook | The Plastic Flamingo

Support eco-friendly companies

Winder Recycling Company,  also  known as Envirotech, is a company based in Davao that recycles single-use plastics into products such as furniture, garden pots, and more. This company aims to reduce waste and avoid pollution. In an interview with owner Winchester Lemen, he explained that Envirotech was launched in 2010. He mentioned that as an environmentalist, he innovates single use plastics into useful products. 

The collected plastic waste will be segregated, shredded, melted, and molded into a new product.

via Facebook | Winder Recycling Company
via Facebook | Winder Recycling Company

My Dad was my inspiration in doing this since he was one of the pioneers in plastic production,” Lemen shared. He also added that consumers approach them and turn over their plastic waste to be recycled for better use. The products they receive most are sando bags, candy wrappers, and bottles.   

According to their website,  they were able to recycle 60 to 90 tons of plastic waste every month. Their company prevents cutting at least 22 mature trees and 30 tons of plastic is equivalent to 1,500 school chairs.  

Lemen’s motto is “We ReUse you ReFuse,” where he mentioned in an article that candy wrappers, sando bags, water bottles that usually end up in the landfill or canals can make a single school chair. A 30 kilos of plastic, or 10, 000 candy wrappers, or 2,181 sando bags can produce a single school chair already. 

Due to the pandemic they are accepting minimal donations in their Taytay branch. Lemen clarified that they are currently not opening doors for everyone and their plant in Zambales is temporarily closed for the safety of their workers. Announcements will be made on the dates the warehouse will reopen.  

You can check out their Facebook page and website where you can browse and shop for good quality furniture. 

As consumers and humans who live on the Earth for free, it’s our responsibility to take care of our environment even the smallest action can help in a big way. Think, act, and choose responsibly when you buy from online shops. 

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DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the contributor/s and do not represent those of InqPOP! and INQUIRER.net. The InqPOP! staff assumes no liability for any error in the content of this material. Got something you want to share to the world? Get a chance to publish your awesome creations and share it to the world through our InqPOP! Creator Community program. Send us your stories, videos, photos, fan fic, and even fan art at [email protected]

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