Eco group espouses eco-friendly Christmas celebration

Parañaque City. An environmental watchdog reminded Filipinos to observe an eco-sensitive holiday season.
The EcoWaste Coalition, together with Malikhaing Landas na Magpapayabong sa Sining at Kultura (MALAYA) and Cavite Green Coalition, organized a creative media event on a waste-free and toxics-free Christmas celebration in front of the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, popularly known as the Baclaran Church.
The group echoed their calls on the public to be mindful of the environment through a tableau where three members of the group acted as three kings offering eco-friendly reminders ‘Reduce,’ ‘Reuse’, ‘Recycle’ and ‘Respect’ as their valuable gifts to Mother Earth.
“As the season of giving begins, we encourage everyone to bestow reverence to our environment by reducing our wastes this Christmas,” said Ochie Tolentino, Vice President of the EcoWaste Coalition.
“Given the abundance of activities throughout the holiday season, excessive consumption yields volumes of trashes. Filipinos shop, dine and socialize a lot during these times generating tons of discards, which, if not reused or recycled, will get dumped or burned somewhere,” she observed.
For her part, Tin Vergara, EcoWaste Coalition’s Zero Waste Campaigner said that “discards are not wastes until they’re wasted, so we appeal to everyone to exercise proper segregation of discards and resourcefully reuse or recycle disposed products that may still be useful.”
“Indeed, we will have less discards to worry about if we trim down our consumption to bare essentials and control unnecessary waste disposal during the extended holidays,” she further advised.
The amounts of garbage we unconsciously produce during Christmastime are reflective of the nonchalant attitude we have for the environment. During these times of love and hope, let us offer Mother Earth eco-friendly gifts that will definitely have a long-term, positive impact on the environment.
The EcoWaste Coalition suggests the following eco-friendly tips to guide the public in reducing trash this coming Christmas season:
1.  Reuse decorations from past celebrations.2. Make garlands made from recycled materials such as old cards, gift wraps and ribbons.
3.  Recreate the Belen (Nativity scene) using recycled materials.
4.  Create a Christmas tree using potted plants or trees, twigs or broomsticks.
5. If buying new items, look for those that are locally made, non-toxic, reusable and require no electricity.
1. Choose safe, energy efficient and long lasting Christmas lights with genuine Import Commodity Clearance (ICC).
2. Use your Christmas lights sparingly, light them up only as Christmas nears and only when needed. Turn them off during daylight hours and turn them off whenever you are away or asleep.
3. Refrain from over-the-top use of Christmas lights: conserve electricity.
1.  Go for austere Christmas get-togethers. Money saved from lavish parties can be shared to families and communities in need.
2. Say no to disposable party supplies such as plastic plates, cups and cutlery. Go for items that can be cleaned and reused.
3. Adopt a no left-over policy to prevent wasting food.
4. Implement a system for ecological party waste management to make reusing, recycling and composting easy. Consider sharing clean food leftovers with the poor.
1. Organize Christmas shopping wisely to avoid impulsive purchases and overspending and also to cut fuel costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Walk, cycle or take the jeepney, bus or train whenever possible.
2. Break the plastic bags habit. Bring with you a reusable carry bag, basket or bayong when you shop.
3. Avoid items wrapped in excessive packaging and go for healthy and eco-friendly products.
1. Give non-material presents such as giving your loved ones the more precious gift of time and company.
2. Give unused gifts, old clothes and books to charity.
3. Give locally-produced products or delicacies from your province such as fruits, vegetables, plants, sweets, condiments, decorative and functional crafts, etc.
4. Give eco-friendly products that support sustainable lifestyle (for example, reusable non-polycarbonate water jug, solar-powered flashlight, non-toxic personal and household care products, organic and GMO-free foodstuff, etc.).
5. Choose gifts that do not need to be wrapped such as potted plants, massage from blind masseurs, gift checks, concert or game passes, raffle tickets etc. If wrapping is needed, use old magazines or comics page of newspapers, old bandannas, etc.