Green Groups Launch 3Rs Drive to Preempt Post-Election Garbage Crisis

Quezon City. Anticipating an avalanche of post-election garbage, the EcoWaste Coalition and the Miss Earth Foundation sounded the alarm bell and sought public cooperation in keeping the campaign discards out of dumpsites and landfills.

In a public event held in Barangay Central, Quezon City, the newly crowned Miss Philippines-Earth 2010 Kris Psyche Resus and her court joined forces with Zero Waste advocates in promoting simple yet creative 3Rs (repurpose, reuse, recycle) solutions to avert a potential garbage crisis after the May 10 polls.

“We have come here today with an earnest message to the Filipino people that it is better to repurpose, reuse and recycle the huge volume of campaign discards than to burn or bury them and in turn pollute our communities,” said Resus.

Joining Resus were the other eco-queens, namely: Miss Philippines-Water Emerie Dale Cunanan, Miss Philippines-Fire Gwennaelle Ruais, Miss Philippines-Air Rene Rosario McHugh and Miss Philippines-Eco-Tourism Angela Fernando.

“By adopting innovative ways of keeping tarps and other campaign materials out of the waste stream, we prevent these useful resources from being wasted, while cutting pollution that is making the people and the planet sick,” said Roy Alvarez, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

“It is not enough that the posters and banners are removed without delay after the polling day. It is also imperative that these materials are not burned or hauled into the dumpsites, which are

already bursting at the seams,” the groups stated.

As a long-term measure, the groups see the need for the Commission on Elections to initiate a review of how the election laws are responsive or not to the need to protect the environment from waste, toxic and pollution before, during and after the political campaign.

Both groups are hopeful that the concerted efforts by responsive individuals, families, civic groups, churches, businesses, local government units and, not to forget, the politicos, will significantly reduce the amount of campaign trash for disposal.

“We hope that through the ‘bayanihan’ involving all sectors of the community we can considerably trim down the quantity of waste materials requiring collection and disposal,” the groups said.

The Miss Earth Foundation and the EcoWaste Coalition cited a number of benefits that should encourage the public to support the groups’ latest crusade for 3Rs. Among these benefits are:

– reduced garbage and cleaner and healthier communities
– reduced expenses for waste collection and disposal
– reduced demand for virgin materials
– reduced emission of greenhouse gases and other pollutants
– reduced deforestation with the recycling of paper
– expanded opportunity for resource conservation
– expanded consciousness among citizens to take environmental action
– expanded individual and group creativity and resourcefulness
– expanded family and community cooperation and self-reliance
– expanded job creation, especially if carried out on a bigger scale

Some of the ingenious and functional 3Rs ideas for typical campaign discards include turning tarpaulins into aprons, bags, stuff organizers and recycling sacks, using plastic posters as kites, fly swatters and shower curtains, crafting paper posters into note and sketch pad, and utilizing cardboard posters to make signage and visual aids.

In addition, enterprising citizens have the option of selling recyclables to junk shops or to itinerant recyclers. For example, assorted campaign paper can sell for PHP1-2/kg and white paper can fetch PHP10-12.50/kg.

The ideas were contributed by Alaga LAHAT, Buklod Tao, Citizens Organization Concerned with Advocating Philippine Environmental Sustainability, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Green Stage Filipinas-MASKARA Institute for the Development of Educational and Ecological Alternatives, Mother Earth Foundation, Sining Yapak, Zero Waste Philippines and the EcoWaste Coalition Secretariat.
Creative Repurposing, Reuse and Recycling Ideas to Keep Campaign Trash Out of Dumpsites and Landfills

A. Tarpaulin Poster/Banner
– Transform into reusable fashion bags, shopping bags, beach bags or relief goods bags.

– Cut and sew into place mats, coasters, table covers, refrigerator runners, seat covers and wallets.
– Turn into functional organizers for slippers, shoes, small umbrellas and other stuff that can be hung at the back of the door.

– Cut and stitch into a vendor’s apron, especially for fish and meat sellers.
– Turn into sacks for segregating recyclable materials such as paper, bottle, plastic etc.
– Save oversized tarpaulins and use them as picnic or activity mats.
– Repurpose huge tarpaulins as “lona” for meetings and other activities.
– Donate as roofing and sleeping materials for indigents.
– Use as window awnings and canopies for homes, shops and offices.
– Use tarps to block the sun or as rain shield.
– Use as awnings for tricycles and jeepneys.

B. Cloth Streamer
– Like tarps, cloth streamers can be used to block heat and glare.
– Cut into strips and coil into floor mats.
– Repurpose into rags.

C. Plastic Poster and Buntings
– Sew into aprons.
– Turn into shower curtains
– Use as book or notebook covers.
– Cut into strips and fashion as fly swatters.

– Cut into strips to make plastic yarn that can be crocheted into functional items such as bags and containers.

– Turn into saranggola (kites).

D. Paper Poster
– Use as wrapping paper.
– Use as notebook or book cover.
– Keep and use for paper molding and paper mosaic projects.
– Make paper bags and envelopes out of discarded paper campaign materials.
– Cut into scrap pieces of paper and fasten or bind into a note, scrap or sketch pad.
– Use colorful and shiny posters to make paper beads for recycled paper earrings and necklaces.
– Shred and use as bedding for pet animals.
– Compost soiled paper that can no longer be reused or recycled.

E. Cardboard Poster
– Save cardboards as materials for announcements, signage and instructional materials.
– Reuse cardboards to repair or protect paperback books.
– Save cardboard posters and use them as unique gift tags.
– Make picture frames out of cardboards.
– Design a bookmark out of the cardboards and other paper scraps.

F. Leaflet and Sample Ballot
– Shred and use as bedding for pet animals.
– Craft into novelty items such as paper vases, bags and mats.

G. Poster and Streamer Bamboo or Wooden Frame
– Use for bamboo fencing, trellis and for other garden use.
– Repurpose bamboo slats as venetian blinds and other functional crafts.
– Use as firewood.
– Turn bamboo slats into a bamboo planter or flower pot cover.
– Use as kite frame.

H. Alambre/Wire
– Use in making garden fence and functional items.

I. Other campaign paraphernalia

– Keep the three or four-side campaign lanterns that are often used as street or tree buntings and restyle them as Christmas or other decorative lanterns.

J. Be an eco-entrepreneur. Sell recyclable campaign discards to the junk shops near you. Here are the buying rates for typical campaign discards (prices may vary):

Plastic Poster: P8/kg
Paper Poster: P1/kg
Cardboard Poster: P1/kg
Sample Ballots: P2/kg (brown), P10-12.50/kg (white)|
Assorted Paper: P2/kg
Wire (alambre): P2/kg