The Department of Trade and Industry Cordillera Administrative Region (DTI-CAR) is one with all the consumers around the world in commemorating the World Consumer Rights Day on 15 March 2021. 

This year’s theme is “Tackling Plastic Pollution”.  There is a call for all of us to focus on the use of plastics and their impact on the environment.  World Consumer Rights Day, coordinated by Consumers International (CI), the membership organization for consumer groups around the world, takes place every year to highlight the importance of consumer protection and empowerment.

For this year, special focus is on the role of consumers and consumer advocacy in tackling plastic pollution and demonstrate that consumers everywhere demand change for our environment and our health. Plastic can be a highly useful material in everyday life, but our consumption and production of plastics, especially single-use plastic, is considered unsustainable – leading to a global plastic pollution crisis.

This drive is particularly important as we continue to see the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic on plastic pollution, with the increased use of single-use products including plastic face masks/shields, gloves, and food packaging.

Consumers are increasingly concerned about plastic pollution and already taking action. A global study in 2019 found that there is a strong consumer response to plastic waste (with 82% of respondents using reusable cleaning utensils instead of single-use plastic alternatives, 72% bringing reusable bags when shopping, and 62% using refillable drinking bottles) – and despite the increased use of single-use plastic during the pandemic, 55% of consumers globally have now become more concerned about the environment as a result of COVID-19 and nearly 74% of consumers (in Europe, the US, and South America) are willing to spend more on sustainable packaging. Systemic marketplace change is required at all levels from governments, businesses, and standard setters to make tackling plastic pollution and sustainable consumption the easy choice for consumers.

To achieve impact at the scale required, we need a path so that unsustainable options are no longer viable choices. Making more sustainable alternatives available, accessible and affordable, building effective recycling infrastructure, and ensuring that consumers have the information they need to make informed choices are only some of the ways that this can be achieved.

The 2021 World Consumer Rights Day campaign introduces 7Rs: Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair, and Replace. This is to show how consumers everywhere and its high time that we do our share by taking action following the 7Rs. Consumers can re-evaluate their consumption habits to minimize plastic use, refuse unnecessary plastic where possible and demand more sustainable alternatives from businesses and governments, reduce the amount of plastic they purchase and dispose of, extend the lifetime of plastic products by reusing, dispose of plastic waste appropriately by following local recycling guidelines, repair items and appliances where possible, and replace plastic products or packaging with more sustainable alternatives.

DTI-CAR commits to heighten the campaign on sustainable consumption and production by mainstreaming this advocacy in all its programs, projects, and activities to increase awareness and widen consumer reach.♦

Date of Release: 22 March 2021