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Social enterprise brand joins global drive to cut plastic waste, save seas.

Human Nature, the country's social enterprise brand that manufactures genuinely natural products, has joined global efforts to save the seas from plastic pollution by opening refilling stations for its home-care products.

'Home care is one of our fast-moving lines, and customers have long been asking for refills because of the volume of usage. This refilling system came from several months of research, sourcing and prototyping because we wanted to ensure safety, traceability and adaptation-that the system is effective and the cost isn't a barrier for scaling up. We are working with design experts and social innovators to come up with a simpler and more scaled down model for refilling stations that can be implemented all over the country,' Human Nature President and Cofounder Anna Meloto-Wilk said in an interview.

Human Nature home-care refilling stations are at SM City North Edsa and its flagship store in Commonwealth Avenue.

The co-founder of Human Nature said the launch of the refilling station is in response to the development of a holistic approach to the recycling program.

Through its latest project, Human Nature hopes to educate the behavior of consumers on the importance of recycling toward sustainability. 'First, you have to clean the bottle to refill and dry it,' she said.

'In terms of behavior, buy only what you need. You have to control your own desires. You will realize later you accumulated a lot of stuff and end up not using it. It will later land in the landfill,' Meloto-Wilk pointed out.

A 2018 article from the United Nations Environment Program, 'Our planet is drowning in plastic pollution,' noted that 79 percent of plastics end up in the natural

environment. Of this proportion some 8 to 12 million tons of plastic waste go into oceans each year.

And so, Meloto-Wilk said, 'if we continue business as usual, by 2050, there could be more plastic than fish in the sea by weight.'

Before launching the initiative, Meloto-Wilk said, engineers of Human Nature conducted several tests to determine the quality of the bottles. 'These are [made of] sturdy materials and I think you can reuse several times,' she said.

Meanwhile, Human Nature is teaming up with environmental groups and eco-conscious brands to call for standardized refilling policies to make refilling more widely accessible, while ensuring consumer safety.

Currently, because refilling is classified under 'filling,' a manufacturing activity, Meloto-Wilk said, the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 9711, or the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009, make it highly challenging for the safe refilling of cosmetic products accessible and available to most Filipino consumers.

According to Meloto-Wilk, the presence of safe, appropriately regulated cosmetics and home-care refilling stations that are as accessible as water refilling stations can potentially spark a radical change in the way people and organizations consume goods and manage plastic waste.

Human Nature has also formed an alliance with environmental groups such as Save Philippine Seas, Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines, WWF Philippines, and several more environmental advocacy organizations and eco-conscious brands to create safe, sustainable, and accessible refilling stations to reduce plastic waste nationwide.

Nevertheless, Meloto-Wilk said, it is a huge challenge to wean people away from using plastics. 'People are so attached to plastics because they are good in protecting food and are affordable.'

'But we need a way to change the use of plastic. Instead, we can use it over and over again so that we can reduce the volume of plastic that end up in our landfill,' she added.

Meloto-Wilk said all Human Nature bottles can be returned to all Metro Manila branches. She added Human Nature is working with a recycling facility to repurpose old bottles.

The project started on March 30.

Meloto-Wilk said consumers can bring their empty, clean, and dry Human Nature home-care bottles to Human Nature SM City North Edsa The Block, or to the Human Nature Flagship Store on Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City, and get up to P10 off for every 500 milliliter, 950 ml or 1 liter bottle refilled.

The discount varies as Human Nature charges the refill by the gram to assure that in case of human error, a consumer will just pay for any excess.

Founded in 2008 by Dylan Wilk, Anna Meloto-Wilk, and Camille Meloto, Human Nature products are made in the Philippines and free from harmful chemicals. In 2012, Human Nature was recognized by the World Economic Forum's Schwab Foundation as a Champion for Social Entrepreneurship. In 2016, Human Nature became the first Asian brand to receive a Sustainability Pioneer Award from Ecovia Intelligence (Organic Monitor), a globally recognized think tank for the organic beauty industry.
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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jun 19, 2019
Words:860
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