Erasing the throw-away culture in Ilocos Sur

VIGAN CITY — Ilocos Sur provincial officials want the province to get away from the culture of throwing away disposable food wares and packages.

Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member Christopher Abraham Baterina authored a draft ordinance prohibiting the sale and use of single-use foodware and disposable items by hotels, resorts, restaurants, canteens, food vendors and similar establishments in the food and accommodation business in the province.

And the first public hearing on this on July 30 was actively joined by about 100 representatives, owners and managers of these establishments.

Baterina said that these single-use food wares and packages were identified as contributors to the increasing waste problems, marine pollution, wildlife degradation, greenhouse gas emission and other ecological imbalance in the country.

These endanger public health, too.

The ordinance will help businesses to shift from environmentally harmful disposable items to reusable, durable food and beverage containers that will usher benefits to the business community.

So it bans the selling, use, serving or providing single-use foodware or container, disposable products or non-reusable wares as containers and packaging materials for foods or drinks purchased in the establishments by the consumer like clamshells, plates, cups, bowls, soda or water bottles and even flexible plastic films, plastic pouch, cellophane to be used for viands or similar items.

Also, the use and sell of disposable or plastic spoons, forks, knives for dine-in or take-out.

And accessory or accompanying disposable foodware made of plastic or similar materials for foods purchased like plastic drinking straws, wrappers, cup sleeves, tops, plastic lids, spill plugs, plastic condiment cups and packets for catsup, “toyomansi” and the like, stirring sticks, drink stoppers, plastic sachets of coffee, sugar, creamer and other items for dine-in or take-out.

Packaging items such as plastic or styrofoam used to hold, cushion, or protect items packed in a container for shipping, transport or storage are also banned.

Instead of these, establishments are urged to use metal utensils, reusable food ware, compostable, fiber-based packaging like paper, wood, sugarcane, wheat stalk, hay, banana leaves and others, or refillable dispensers.

Baterina said residents are urged to be more environmentally responsible by complying with the ordinance.

They are urged to bring their own food containers while business owners are allowed to offer paper or other reusable containers for a charge.

Customers need to buy condiments in bottles which are recyclable or bring their own containers when buying small amounts.

Parents should use reusable food containers for their children’s school snacks and lunch.

“What more, the compliance to this ordinance by every barangay in the province will be one criteria for judging the best performing barangay during the yearly Kannawidan Ylocos Festival, among others,” Baterina said.

This ordinance complements Provincial Ordinance No. 018-18 that prohibits the use of plastic bags by vendors in the province, amending Section 64 of Provincial Ordinance No. 16-07A, the Provincial Environment Code of Ilocos Sur as revised, series of 2016. ●