23 December 2019, Quezon City. Cut back on what you throw this holiday season.
This is the timely holiday reminder from the EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit organization working toward “a zero waste and toxics-free society where communities enjoy a safe and healthy environment.”
As holiday fever grips homes and communities across the country, the group reminded the public to find ways to reduce the volume of “holitrash” (holiday + trash) from the festive observance of Christmas and the New Year.
“We urge everyone to be mindful of what we consume and dispose of during this most joyful time of the year to reduce the negative impact of the festivities on public health and the environment,” said Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“The celebrations need not make the garbage situation worse. By consuming sustainably and by willfully segregating, reusing, recycling or composting discarded materials, we can be part of the solution, not the problem,” he said.
“For instance, opting not to wrap Christmas presents and saving the wrappers of gifts received will lessen the amount of packaging materials hauled to dumps or landfills,” he added.
Christmas gift wrappers and accessories like cards and ribbons should be saved, reused or repurposed instead of throwing such useful resources in the bin, the EcoWaste Coalition said.
To further cut down on “holitrash,” the group reminded consumers anew to shun disposable paper and plastic carry bags, make use of reusable bags and containers, avoid over-packaged products, and steer clear of single-use party supplies such as plastic plates and cutlery.
To promote zero food waste, the group urged the public not to over-prepare food, safely refrigerate, freeze or recycle leftovers, give edible food to the needy, and compost kitchen waste such as fruit and vegetable peelings.
The group likewise appealed to all sectors to welcome the New Year sans firecrackers and fireworks to prevent toxic fumes, lower noise pollution and put an end to tragic paputok-related injuries, deaths and fires.
Recognizing that personal action alone would not be enough to drastically cut the ‘holitrash, the EcoWaste Coalition pressed citizens to push national and local authorities, including the barangay council, to effectively enforce Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.
The group also pointed to the need for citizens to put pressure on manufacturers to switch to reusable and refillable product delivery systems, and for companies to be responsible for the take-back, recycling and final disposal of their goods at the end of their functional lives.
Additional information on the many ways of reusing or repurposing Christmas packaging:
- Christmas wrapping papers can be reused to cover books and notebooks, re-wrap small gifts, line drawers and trays, create origami pieces, or make paper buntings.
- Christmas ribbons can be saved for future Birthdays or Christmases or reused as hair bows or garlands for decorations and fun activities.
- Christmas paper or plastic gift bags can be reused as carry bags or as pouches for school and office supplies.
- Christmas gift boxes can be reused to store small toys, fashion accessories, needles and threads, photos and mementos, CDs and DVDs, as well as electricity, water and other bills.
- Christmas money envelopes or red packets can be reused to keep gift cards and tags, extra ID pictures, or turned into instant bookmarks.
- Christmas cards can be cut into bookmarks, reused for art projects or saved as decorative materials for the next yuletide celebration.
- Christmas hampers, particularly the native basket, can be reused as containers for fresh fruits, ornamental plants, etc.