According to the World Bank and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines, are throwing away billions into the ocean by continuing to use single-use plastics.
In a blog, World Bank Managing Director for Operations Axel van Trotsenburg and ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi said Asean states lose as much as $80 billion to $120 billion a year due to the failure to recycle plastics. This represents 95 percent of the packaging value of plastic products.
Southeast Asia has been identified as a hotspot for plastic pollution, with its rapid urbanization, rising middle class, and inadequate infrastructure for waste management. Half of the top 10 countries contributing to plastic leakage to rivers and seas are located in the region.
Recognizing the urgency of the situation, Puregold has moved to strengthen its sustainability strategy by incorporating eco-friendly practices in key aspects of its business.
“Puregold’s intent is to be a mindful company that reuses, recycles and reduces whatever resources are available and as a retailer, encourages its customers to do the same,” said Puregold President Vincent Co. “We are very much invested in doing business sustainably and help the younger generations look forward to their future.”
Puregold is encouraging customers to reduce their carbon footprint by bringing their own reusable bags or boxes when they shop.
Puregold has implemented no plastic use on Mondays in all its stores in the National Capital Region. As an incentive, the supermarket will also give Php1 cashback for every eco bag used by Perks and Tindahan Ni Aling Puring members, who can earn up to Php5 in savings for every transaction.
The program is part of a bigger goal to reduce the excessive use of plastic bags and encourage customers, particularly those who buy in bulk, to make changes in the way they consume goods and aspects related to it such as packaging, and how it can impact our planet.
For 2022, Puregold is projecting another 30% reduction on its purchases of plastic bags from a year ago.
“Aside from plastic use, Puregold’s concern is the production of single-use plastics, which requires a lot of energy and resources. It may be impossible to completely eliminate plastic from the retail industry, but we can take steps to reduce the amount we are using,” said Vincent.
With 50% or more of their customers are sari-sari big owners, and sari-sari stores being some of the biggest sources of single-use plastics and plastic products, Puregold is doing its best, through the Tindahan Ni Aling Puring program, to educate its members on the importance of lessening plastic waste.
Vincent said it is important for everyone in the industry to look at the packaging and how it can be made, used, and disposed of without damaging the environment.
“In Q3 this year, we will revive our recycling initiatives, which we started in 2019 but were temporarily halted due to the pandemic. We will once again encourage our customers to exchange their recyclable waste for essential grocery items, in designated Puregold stores,” he said.
To date, all Puregold stores are geared towards conversion to 100% LED main lighting to reduce energy consumption. Puregold’s 135 wastewater treatment facilities are compliant with government regulations, as it also ventures into Rainwater Catchment, Gray Water re-use, and other water savings and other mitigating measures to lessen the company’s impact on water resources. Meanwhile, migration of business’ logistics requirements to optimum cross-dock operations efficiency is in position to help reduce carbon emission by an estimated 36%.
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