SM Prime Embarks on a Zero Waste Journey with #SMWasteFreeFuture

With a unified waste management and segregation campaign, SM Prime seeks to tackle the challenge of achieving a zero waste future.

With a unified waste management and segregation campaign, SM Prime seeks to tackle the challenge of achieving a zero waste future. 

On World Environment Day, June 5, 2024, SM Prime Holdings, Inc. announced conglomerate-wide efforts to achieve a zero waste future. The campaign, named #SMWasteFreeFuture, involves a unified waste management and segregation program which it launched in an event at SM Mall of Asia. The launch received support from all sectors, including all of SM Prime’s property groups, its stakeholders and representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

SM Prime aims to achieve the ambitious goal of zero waste in its operations through effective changes in waste segregation. The program can be summarized through RDC, or waste segregation via three categories: Recyclable, Disposable, or Compostable.

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Through these behavioral changes, it hopes to achieve the two objectives of the #SMWasteFreeFuture program:

  1. Reduce overall waste generation through waste segregation practices.
  2. Enhance Waste Diversion Rate by diverting waste away from landfills through sustainable disposal methods, including recycling and composting.

The Worldwide Problem of Waste

The Philippines is the top plastic polluter in the world by far, according to a 2019 study. It was responsible for 36.38% of global oceanic waste, with India, the world’s second top polluter, accounting for 12.92% of the total. Most of the plastic waste finds its way into the ocean from streams and rivers, such as the world’s most polluted river, the Pasig River.

At the same time, the Philippines is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. To protect our environment, collaborative work between all sectors of society–consumers, private corporations and the government–is essential.

SM Supermalls Vice President for Compliance, Liza B. Silerio acknowledged this fact, saying, in her welcoming remarks, “We, at SM, stand in solidarity with this global movement. We are committed to a unified waste management and segregation campaign that involves all our property groups and stakeholders, propelling us toward a Waste-Free Future here at SM.”

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Support for Zero Waste Efforts

In attendance for DENR Secretary Toni Yulo-Loyzaga was her representative, Atty. Jonas Leones, DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs.

In a statement, Leones said, “We have made significant strides toward a shared goal for a more sustainable future. With programs such as the #SMWasteFreeFuture campaign that helps raise awareness and encourage participation for more businesses to reduce waste generation and contribute to waste diversion rate, I am optimistic that the Philippines will reach the EPR [extended producer responsibility] target of recovering and diverting 80% of plastics by 2028.”

Countdown to a Zero Waste Future

In a symbolic gesture, a live countdown was held, culminating in the press of a button by Sustainability Champion and SM Engineering Design and Development Corporation President Hans “Chico” Sy. This symbolized the beginning of SM Prime’s journey towards a waste-free future. Sy was joined by President of SM Supermalls Steven Tan and DENR USEC Atty. Leones, and Liza B. Silerio.

“We have to be open to new ways of doing things and of putting into action every little step that’s crucial for advancing waste management solutions,” Sy emphasized. At the same time, he reiterated that this is only the beginning of SM Prime’s efforts and its commitment to a greener, more sustainable tomorrow.

“This is a small step in a long journey. This is a learning process and it will not be perfect. We highly encourage all of you to give us feedback,” Sy said. “This project is not specific to one organization, but one that belongs to an entire society. We welcome everyone to practice this in their everyday lives.”

To learn more about #SMWasteFreeFuture and RDC, visit the site: https://www.smprime.com/sustainability/smwastefreefuture/