Froilan Grate is fast becoming known outside of his native Philippines, as the activist has openly named-and-shamed companies such as Nestlé and Unilever for their environmental impact in his home country.
The low cost and convenience of plastic sachets, as well as inefficient waste disposal, has identified the Philippines as one of the world’s leading plastic polluters. But the focus has always been on consumers rather than the real culprits which are the big corporations.
Froilan Gate said: “Plastic pollution might be very visible in the Philippines and other Asian countries, but the crisis started somewhere else. It began in the boardrooms of the top multinational companies when they decided to dump products packaged in single-use, non-recyclable plastic in places where there is no infrastructure to manage them.”
In a report published by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) earlier this month, Nestlé and Unilever were found to be the top sources of plastic pollution in waste audits done in the Philippines. These and other big corporations are causing communities in countries like the Philippines to be used as a dumping ground through the global waste trade.
Froilan Grate, who is the Executive Director of GAIA Philippines and President of the Mother Earth Foundation, is working to tackle the plastic pollution crisis with real solutions in the Philippines.
Through his work with non-profit organisations Mother Earth Foundation and Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), he is working towards a Zero-Waste Philippines.
Mother Earth Foundation and GAIA help communities implement zero-waste programmes, by creating systemic zero-waste programmes that collect all recyclables, compost all organics, and push for corporate accountability.
Through waste segregation, local composting and recycling, communities and cities can reduce their waste by as much as 80%
Froilan Grate said: “Despite our best efforts, up to 30% of the waste can’t be composted or recycled. Communities often ask us: ‘Why are you putting the responsibility of managing this waste on us, and not on the corporations that created it? Tell these companies to stop making it, and our waste problem is solved’.”
Froilan Grate, who grew up on the island of Guimaras in Central Philippines, argues that the corporations that produce the waste should be responsible for cleaning it up. And one way he’s getting the brands’ attention is by naming and shaming the companies.
He added: “Corporations like Nestlé and Unilever have created a monster, and communities all over the world are coming together to tell them we will no longer take the blame for their irresponsible decisions.”
Froilan Grate has teamed up with Greenpeace to demand that corporations move beyond their empty promises and meaningless recycling targets and take real concrete action to solve the plastic pollution crisis. If you would like to support Froilan Gate’s efforts, you can sign the petition here.
Image Credit: © Greenpeace
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about sustainable lifestyle and green living for publications, and offers content services to planet-friendly businesses. Find out more at Rosamedea.com