To cutback on town’s solid waste LUBAO MAYOR EYES ‘REFILLS ON WHEELS’

By Albert B. Lacanlale

LUBAO, Pampanga—Mayor Esmeralda G. Pineda of this town is mulling on deploying roaming trucks that sell consumer products at lower prices even in far-flung barangays.

The mayor made the announcement before approximately 2,000 residents who gathered at the multi-purpose covered court of Barangay Prado Siongco for the first-ever installation of the Refill Revolution initiated by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Region 3 on Tuesday (September 24).

Patterned after the EMB refilling project, the mayor’s version, to be dubbed “Refills
On Wheels”, will deploy trucks selling products like detergents, cooking oil and condiments, at prices lower than what is prevailing in the market.

Instead of the consumers going to another village to buy the products, the trucks will bring these practices in front of the consumer’s residence.

At the refill revolution, the consumers were able to buy a liter of cooking oil for P50; vinegar or soy sauce for P15 per liter; fabric conditioner and dishwashing liquid at P20 per liter; and, detergent powder for P30 per kilogram.

Lubao, which has one of the most advanced material recovery facilities (MRF) in Pampanga, is actively implementing Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

Waste segregation is strictly enforced in the collection of garbage from sources and wastes are further sorted at the MRF.

However, the municipal government admits that residual wastes, which are disposed of in private sanitary landfills, still eat up a huge chunk of the budget for the environment in terms of tipping fee.

The refilling project encourages recycling as only those who bring their own refillable containers, such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and tin cans, are given the chance to buy the available products.

Mayor Pineda said that while the residents save money with the products they buy at cheap prices, they also lessen their plastic wastes.

The mayor, however, clarified that her proposed project will not compete with small sari-sari (convenience) stores in the barangays.

“We will schedule the roaming trucks once or twice a month in the barangay because we do not want to compete with our small businesses. And maybe this can help sari-sari store owners to adopt a similar system,” the mayor said.

The advent of plastic ended the refilling system (known in Filipino as “tingi-tingi” or “takal” in Kapampangan) in the barrio as the public opted for single-use containers.

This added to the burgeoning problem on plastic waste that is blamed for the perennial flooding in many areas.

“We may not be able to solve large-scale environmental damages on our own but little efforts such as this refilling project will eventually have a major impact in addressing climate change,” Mayor Pineda said.