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Sign the Petition to Create Safe, Sustainable and Accessible Refilling Stations

Posted on April 11, 2019 by Human Nature

Calling all our eco warriors! We need YOUR help to push for safe, sustainable and widely accessible refilling stations for househould and cosmetic products.

Join us in helping make the Philippines a more sustainable place to live in - one that is kinder to Mother Earth. Sign your support at bit.ly/mainstreamrefilling.

Why do we need refilling now?

A five-year waste audit by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) estimates the Philippines throws away 163 million sachets everyday. 79% of “branded” plastic waste comes from food packaging, 12% from household and 8% from personal care products.

Plastics can remain for 2,000 years or longer in our natural environment. If we continue business as usual, by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the sea by weight. Because it is produced from petroleum-based chemicals, it could account for one-fifth of the world’s total oil consumption, further accelerating global warming and deadly climate change.

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The FDA safeguards public health by ensuring the safety and efficacy of commercially available health products - such as food, medicine, household and cosmetics products - for all consumers, through the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act No. 9711 - The Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009 and AO 2016-0003 (Guidelines on the Unified Licensing Requirements and Procedures of the FDA).

We called attention earlier to the fact that human health and the environment are under threat due to excessive disposal of plastics. It is time, then, to reduce these effects by reducing the use of plastic packaging that continues to persist in the environment long after the contents are used up.

Transformation begins with a mindset shift. Consider how drinking water refilling stations are reducing the disposal of single-use water bottles. An Illinois case study showed that a single mobile refilling station refilled the equivalent of 99,000 12-ounce plastic bottles a year. Water refilling stations abound locally not just because of the demand for clean drinking water, but because the government requirements provide an adequate assurance of consumer safety while allowing more entrepreneurs to establish their refilling business with ease.

For refill stations to be the norm, they must be...

We envision that the presence of safe, appropriately regulated cosmetics and home care refilling stations that are as accessible as water refilling stations will spark a radical change in the way people and organizations consume goods and manage plastic waste.

In order for this transformation to take place, we raise the following three opportunities to enhance the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act No. 9711 - The Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009:

FIRST: Instead of classifying refilling activities under “filling and repackaging”, a manufacturing activity under RA 9711 (Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009) which requires a license to operate granted only if an establishment fulfills all the requirements in AO 2016-0003 (Guidelines on the Unified Licensing Requirements and Procedures of the FDA) and Good Manufacturing Practices, we propose that a new, separate classification be developed such as “Refilling/Repacking Stations” within a retail outlet similar to how RONPD (Retail Outlets for Non-Prescription Drugs) were developed.

SECOND: To fulfill the FDA requirement of protecting consumers’ health, we propose these Refilling/Repacking Station requirements:
1. Business permit
2. Sanitary permit
3. Products (cosmetics and household) for refilling must be FDA-notified
4. Authorized refilling representative trained and certified by the company to conduct safe and sanitary refilling (patterned after food establishments’ safety compliance officer) and not necessarily a pharmacist or a graduate of an allied science profession.
5. Refilling procedures to ensure the safety of refilling
6. Flat rate fee for the refilling License to Operate similar to government agencies such as Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), and not based on business capital.

THIRD: If the packaging to be used is the emptied product bottle, the minimum mandatory information is already in the label. The Batch No. and Expiration Date will be stamped on the label for every refill.

If the packaging to be refilled will be different from the emptied product bottle, the existing minimum mandatory requirement should be displayed on the Refilling/Repacking Stations for the consumers’ information. We propose that the following be stamped/stickered on the label for every refill:
1. Product Name
2. Batch No.
3. Expiration Date
4. Special precautions to be observed (if applicable)

Which government agencies can open the way for change?

With this proposal, we seek to bridge the policy gaps and promote a sea change in the way responsible Filipino companies and ordinary citizens use plastics - not just temporary measures, but permanent and lasting policies, structures and systems. We hope to prepare the way for more brands to become better stewards of our earth and of human health.

3 changes we're asking for...

We call on the Food and Drug Administration to help save our seas from single-use plastic waste by enhancing existing regulations in order to establish safe, widely accessible refilling stations for cosmetics and household products through the following:
1. Redefining refilling as an activity separate from manufacturing
2. Defining refilling stations and their safety and sanitary requirements
3. Defining the minimum information that needs to be shown on refilled product labels and refilling stations

Join our petition for safe, sustainable and widely accessible refilling stations for all


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