I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am that the SM Mals and the Ayala Malls are stepping up their commitment to the environment.
SM Malls, for instance, has recently invested in biodegradable plastic shopping bags. While their Wednesday M.O.B. (My Own Bag) campaign is still going strong, I think the SM management has seen the writing on the wall that says the Filipino public isn’t quite ready to give up its plastic bags and whatnot. So they’ve probably taken matters into their own hands, and purchased biodegradable plastic.
(By no means is this an indication of potential overall success, because the choice of materials that go into the production of biodegradable plastic matters. Biodegradable plastic made from natural materials cannot decompose in anaerobic (landfill) environments will result in the plastic lasting for hundred of years. Smokey Mountain is a landfill. Bummer. We don’t have enough composts and compost space in Manila to realistically ensure that the plastic will in fact decompose over the period of a few months.)
Nevertheless, this is still much better than the status quo!
If you’ve been to SM North EDSA, you may have seen their Sky Garden, a beautiful green roof that is just lovely. There are butterflies flitting amongst the flowers. It’s just so pretty, I tell you. Garbage cans are available that invite users to segregate their garbage before dumping them into the cans.
So why not shop at SM? I have a Prestige Advantage card that gives me extra perks and rewards. I shop at SM using my green bags. I patronize their department store, and eat at their restaurants, because they’re giving back to the earth in a major way.
Meanwhile, Ayala Malls recently launched its Greenology campaign. The remarkable cornerstone of this campaign is its Solid Waste Management Program, which “fully integrates environmental responsibility with a clean and green mall lifestyle.” It abides by R.A. 9003 (the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act) through its Material Recovery Facilitym which recovers materials that can be reused, recycled, and processed into compost and bricks, and uses these materials into paving blocks in the Ayala Center, at almost half the cost of procuring new blocks.
The Greenology campaign also has Earth-friendly events designed to increase awareness of its environmental advocacy. These include the ECO TOTE, limited edition bags designed by some of the country’s top designers, proceeds of which go to supporting each designer’s environmental/societal program of choice; ECO DASH, a fun run whose proceeds go to Bantay Kalikasan; ECO ART, a display of edgy art installations featuring sculptures and 3D models highlighting the fundamentals of recreating, in partnership with renowned artists Alma Quinto, Pete Jimenez, Mac Valdezco and Ral Arrogante with students from University of the Philippines, University of the East, University of Sto. Tomas, College of St. Benilde, Far Eastern University, Philippine Women’s University and Technical University of the Philippines; the Limited Edition GREEN LINE, clothes and accessories made out of eco-friendly materials, including top local brands include Bayo and Folded & Hung, as well as Filipino designers Aranaz, Arnel Papa, Barba, Bonne Bouche, Gaupo, Jun Escario, Myth, Paradi, Religioso and Ana Rocha.
Every little step counts. Kudos to both Ayala and SM for their efforts to make this world a more sustainable place for my kids and my kids’ kids!