As a Filipino environmentalist, I laud the efforts of many Philippine supermarkets and stores for taking that extra step to do their part in reducing plastic consumption and going green. The following is a short list of stores in the Philippines that implement some kind of environment program in their day-to-day operations, and my comments on their commitment to the environment.
- SM Supermarkets. Henry Sy’s family of superstores, including SM Supermarket, SM Hypermart, and SaveMore supermarkets, are encouraging the use of their green bags. If you use a green bag instead of the plastic bags, you are rewarded with extra points (2 measly ones per bag) if you carry a SM Advantage frequent shopper card. The downside to the campaign is you have to buy each bag for PHP35 each – limited editions are more expensive – and not very fashionable if you’re the type. The bags do not seem to be waterproof, and appear to be made of a combination of plastic and synthetic fabric amalgam. Furthermore, if you purchase fresh meats – especially chicken – they’ll pop it in a plastic bag, then put that plastic bag in another plastic bag, which is then put into a third plastic bag! D-uh!
- Healthy Options. I love Healthy Options green bags. Not only are they fashionable, but the bags are made of a sturdy cloth that can carry pretty much anything that can fit into the bag. If you had to go out and buy a green bag, I would heartily recommend this one.
- Rustan’s. Rustan’s had a phenomenal green bag campaign called “His Art, Our Heart,” which put paintings from Filipino artist Fernando Amorsolo on katcha bags. Their green bag campaign is also factored into their Rewards program. (Not sure if the “His Art, Our Heart” campaign is still on, but those bags looked lovely. It almost makes up for the PHP160/bag price tag; a portion of the proceeds go to the World Widelife Fund.)
- Yoh-Gurt Froz. Not quite sure if I spelled this right, but it’s a delicious frozen yogurt store, one of the best in the country, with a branch at Bonifacio High Street. If you buy PHP600 at one go, you get a free eco-bag that is cute and quite useful.
- Papemelroti. The country’s most popular gifts and novelties store will forever have my heart. Papemelroti is the king of all Philippine earth-friendly stores. Underscoring their commitment to the environment, virtually all their items are made with recycled material and given to you in paper bags. (Unbleached paper bags made with recycled paper should be the default option for Philippine groceries.) Papemelroti also is home to Planet Patrol, an 800-strong group of Filipinos here and abroad that spearheads projects that aim to create sustainable environmental conservation in the Philippines.
- Eco Market. This tiny store in Market! Market! sells organic products. They have a refill option for many of their products – “Messy Bessy” in particular – that offer you a discount off buying a new bottle.
- Echo Store. This Bonifacio High Street lifestyle store sells Filipino and imported organic products that “are environment friendly, sustain marginalized, indigenous and creative communities, support poverty alleviation programs, are created with fair labor practices, are animal-friendly, and express Filipino design excellence.”
Please help me build up this list. Let me know of other stores that are advocating the use of green bags, phasing out plastic from or shifting to paper bags in their bagging process, or are doing their part to help the environment. And please Digg/ReddIt/StumbleUpon this entry so we can increase the awareness of eco-friendly Philippine stores and supermarkets.