Advocacy Christmas Environment Health and Safety Zero Waste

Groups Turn Trash into Creative Christmas Decors to Save Materials from Dumps and Landfills, Cut “Holitrash”

9 December 2018, Quezon City. As the Christmas fever continues to soar, groups sharing a common concern for people and the environment have come together to create pretty decorations for the most joyful season of the year.

Using items mostly pulled out of garbage and storage bins, members of the EcoWaste Coalition, Buklod Kabataan and DeafEye (a pun of “defy”) showed how inexpensive holiday decorations are made through upcycling, which will surely enliven the Christmas spirit while reducing the so-called “holitrash” (holiday + trash).

At an advocacy event for a greener Christmas, the groups presented a variety of upcycled decorations fashioned out of discards such as used party wares, gift wrappers, plastic bottles, product containers and wrappers, tin cans, and even e-waste.

“The creative reuse of discards, also known as upcycling, is a practical way of cutting the amount of materials that we throw away. Giving seemingly useless materials a new lease of life, such as by turning them into Christmas decorations, will help reduce what goes into dumps and landfills that are filling up fast,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“With these upcycled Christmas ornaments, we hope to encourage more Filipinos, especially the youth, to make it a habit to find artistic and imaginative uses for discards, including residual ones, before tossing them in the bin,” he said.

He noted that “aside from reducing the volume of materials to be disposed of, upcycling activities will also help in easing the production for and consumption of new materials, which will in turn contribute to less resource exploitation and pollution.”

“Upcycling can also be a good vehicle for creating awareness about our nation’s recurring waste problem, and the need for long-term sustainable solutions to problematic waste materials such as single-use product packaging choking our water bodies, including the oceans,” Alejandre said.

As an example, he cited the emptied packs and sachets used by the group for some Christmas ornamental crafts. “Companies should start paying attention to ecological packaging and delivery solutions that will eliminate chemical and plastic pollutants wreaking havoc on marine life.”

Among the upcycled Christmas decorations on display that attracted attention were : 1) a toilet seat wreathed with computer mouses, earsets and electrical plugs and labeled with a “warning hazard” that says “mind your e-waste”; 2) wreath of used paper cups with a paper bell saying “mag-reusable tayo” (let’s go for reusables); and 3) a band of five angels dubbed as “Pink Carolers,” which were made out of pink plastic containers of a fabric conditioner.

DeafEye members created an assortment of upcycled Christmas decorations around the theme “Cozy White Christmas,” while those from Buklod Kabataan converted used party wares into instant holiday adornments such as paper cup wreaths and letter cut-outs on paper plates.

Iconic Snowman, Three Kings, reindeer and Santa Claus figures were also created out of used paper bags, food paper boxes, wine bottles, metal cans, and various plastic containers, and enhanced with used bottle caps, buttons, bows and ribbons.

Fabric softeners, roll-on deodorants and toilet paper cardboard tubes were transformed into Christmas angels.

And tin cans and lids decorated with cut-outs from used Christmas wrappers were turned into nice wind chimes, too.