House approves bill taxing single-use plastics

November 15, 2022 - 11:47 AM
People sort through plastic bottles they collected and are about to sell at a junk shop in Manila March 10, 2015. (Reuters/Romeo Ranoco/File Photo)

The Philippines’ lower house of Congress approved on Monday a measure that would slap taxes on single-use plastics, in step with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s commitment to tackle ocean pollution.

A tax of 100 pesos ($1.75) would be levied on firms for every kilogram of single-use plastics that they produce or import, the bill said, and it would rise by 4% annually starting in 2026 to discourage usage and protect the environment.

Roughly 80% of global ocean plastic comes from Asian rivers, and the Philippines alone contributes a third of that total, according to a 2021 report by Oxford University’s Our World in Data.

Single-use plastics are ubiquitous in the Philippines, which uses a staggering 163 million sachets a day, according to a 2016 study by environment group The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives.

The tax measure, which needs to be approved by the Senate before a reconciled bill is sent to Marcos for signature, is expected to raise 9.3 billion pesos in revenues annually, which will be used to fund solid waste management projects.

Marcos, in his first address to the nation after winning the presidency in May, said the Philippines will not skirt its responsibility to the planet and will “clean up”.

($1 = 57.15 Philippine pesos)

—Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Toby Chopra