Plastic industry fights back over Manila's food packaging rules

March 20, 2012

The plastic industry has launched an offensive against the use of brown paper bags and recycled newspapers  to wrap food—environmentalists’ proposed alternatives to plastic bags that are known to pose a huge threat to the environment, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Crispian Lao, spokesperson for the plastic industry, on Sunday said wrapping food products in brown bags and newspapers posed health hazards to consumers as waste paper could contain chemicals from its production that could contaminate food.

Lao said the group was raising its objection to emphasize “the unintended and costly consequences of the plastic ban, which in most instances has denied the public a cheap food-grade wrapping material.”

Lao made the statement as local government units in Metro Manila have started to regulate the use of plastic bags in wet markets and other commercial establishments to reduce the rubbish that clog the waterways and cause floods.

National agencies like the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) have also called for a metro-wide ban on plastic bags and Styrofoam in packaging of food products and other goods.

Lao said plastic bags were not to blame for the city’s trash problems.  “Our irresponsible ways of disposing of plastic and other waste is to blame, not the plastic. We are the problem; we are also the solution,” he said.