Bakers ask city to revise plastic ban-A A +A
Saturday, July 30, 2011
THE Bacolod-Negros Occidental Bakers Association (BACNOBA) has asked the Bacolod City Council to revise the plastic ordinance and provide for a partial ban only, with clear definitions with respect to its application and coverage.
This proposed ordinance was authored by Councilor Em Ang prohibiting the use, sale and provision of plastic bags as packaging material in Bacolod City.
In its position paper, BACNOBA said it is not opposed to the passage of ordinances that aim to address and solve environmental issues.
However, such efforts must not be undertaken at the expense of matters that are of equal importance to public interest, it said.
Distinctions should be made between the various kinds of plastic bags being used, as well as the intended use of the plastic bags, it said, citing the ordinance passed by Muntinlupa City in Metro Manila, which only prohibited the use of plastic bags on dry goods while the use of plastic bags on wet goods was regulated.
BACNOBA said the ordinance prohibiting the use of plastic bags should apply only to the provision of “carry-out” plastic bags by business establishments at the point of sale.
It would be consistent with the declared policy in the proposed ordinance of encouraging the public to bring their own bags when shopping, thus encouraging the environmental principle of reusing commodities, which results in turn in a reduction of waste, it said.
The group said plastic bags have become such an integral part of food preparation, preservation and packaging that imposing a blanket ban on all use of plastic bags will cripple the food industry, which services the mass market.
Given that plastic bags are indispensable in the safe and hygienic mass production, packaging and distribution of bread and bread products, it is their position that exemption of bakeries from the plastic bag ordinance is justified, it said.
While the objective of the proposed ordinance is commendable, the group believes that a blanket ban on all use of plastic bags as packaging material by all business establishments, without qualification, would yield negative effects on public interests that could outweigh any potential benefits that the total plastic ban can bring.
They strongly believe that without a viable alternative for a hygienic, sanitary and safe way of storing food and perishable goods such as bread and bread products, the blanket ban on the use of plastic in all establishments, including bakeries and other establishments manufacturing bread and other like goods will pose serious health and public safety issues, the group said.
BACNOBA said substitution of plastic bags with alternative packaging materials suggested in the proposed ordinance such as woven bags, cloth bags, paper bags and other similar materials is not a feasible option in the mass production and packaging of bread and bread products.
Not only are paper bags or boxes costlier, they are also bulkier and heavier and thus cost more to transport, it said. The higher cost of production will eventually lead to higher prices, which will then ultimately prejudice the consuming public, it added.
Consider also that this blanket prohibition applies only to local establishment, thus all non-Bacolod based bakeries will still be able to supply groceries and supermarkets bread and bread products in plastic packaging at much lower costs than local bakeries, BACNOBA said.
The group also pointed out that it is not an advocate of plastic.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 30, 2011.