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Towards sustainable packaging

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The Department of Trade and Industry wants provisions on sustainable packaging to be included in the implementing rules and regulations of the proposed Internet Transactions Act, citing the need to reduce excessive plastic waste from goods ordered online.

“Once the framework for this law has been completed, we should remember and include this when we issue the guidelines,” said Trade Assistant Secretary Mary Jean Pacheco, currently the officer in charge of the DTI’s consumer protection group.

She stressed that for sustainability efforts to be successful, both manufacturers and consumers would need to do their part. “As consumers, you shouldn’t also keep on buying products with plastic packaging and then just keep throwing the plastic away,” she said.

The Senate recently approved on third and final reading the Internet Transactions bill, one of the Marcos administration’s priority legislative measures.

The bill aims to hold platforms or e-marketplaces liable, along with the online merchants or retailers, for selling products that cause harm to consumers.

According to records of the DTI, it received 5,701 complaints related to online transactions during the first five months of the year, a figure that is nearly half the 12,170 complaints it received for the entire 2022.

Aside from making online platforms more liable, the proposed law will mandate the creation of an e-commerce bureau under the DTI that will oversee internet-based activities that presently lack regulation.

Under the proposed law, the trade secretary will be given authority to issue takedown orders if the goods, services, or digital products advertised being sold in online platforms are found to be “imminently injurious, unsafe, or dangerous to the public.”

All these protections are well and good, but the focus on making packaging sustainable by reducing the amount of plastic waste being generated by the industry can make it even better by broadening the protections it offers, from just consumers to including the environment as well.

Hopefully the DTI can include this important provision so even more can benefit from the law, not just in the short term, but for the long term as well.*

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