Slave to sachet economy: Socio-cultural insights
Keywords:Sachet Economy, Over-consumption, Plastic sachet waste
This paper investigates the socio-cultural insights on the Philippines’ massive consumption of plastic-sachets packed products and the peoples’ disposal habits of single-use plastic sachet wastes. A mixed-method approach was used including a focus group discussion among 6 environmental experts, and a critical selection of concepts from the literature. Deductive thematic analysis aided the main findings. The socio-cultural lens reveals that “Tingi” culture, the society’s old practice of patronizing retail products, and the peoples’ preference for convenience, further fueled by multinational corporations (MNCs) marketing strategies, have enslaved the society to a sachet economy. Furthermore, people’s lackadaisical attitude toward the environment shown in their massive littering habits and poor enforcement of environmental laws damaged the environment. It is recommended that the government should compel the MNCs to reduce the production and sale of plastic sachets by 5% and convert these into refillable containers. Such action will substantially reduce sachet wastes that go to the waterways by as much as 600 million packs annually. Also, the government should adopt the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policy in which the responsibility of managing plastic sachet wastes is passed on to the MNCs. Environmental nudges, penalties, and incentivizing projects adhering to a circular economy should also be implemented. The issue of over-consumption and disposal of single-use plastic sachet waste in the Philippines is inadequately explored from a socio-cultural lens. This study fills the gap in knowledge and understanding of the phenomenon to address the environmental threat resulting from peoples’ single-use plastic sachet consumption and disposal behavior.
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