Public Urged: Tone Down on What You Consume and Throw or Have a Garbage-Free Christmas

The unrestricted consumption and disposal during
the festive season is sure to choke dump trucks and dumpsites to the brim
unless we learn to be “happy with less and pare down to the essentials,” a Zero
Waste advocacy group warned as Christmas draws closer.

The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental network promoting waste prevention and
reduction, raised the spectre of a garbage-filled Christmas as the most festive
time of the year gets underway.

“Bins, lampposts, sidewalks and street corners will again overflow with garbage
like in previous years if we do not tone down on what we consume and throw
during the holidays,” said Christina Vergara, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste

“Our insatiable hunger for material possessions, for things that are newer, grander
and smarter, is sadly consuming lots of resources and generating tons of
discards, which, if not properly sorted for reuse or recycling, will end up
getting burned or dumped somewhere,” she said.

“To turn the tide against crass consumerism and the garbage it spawns, we all
need to be happy with less and pare down to the essentials,” she added.

Soaring and stinking holiday trash, or ‘holitrash,’ is definitely not the way
to observe Christmas in this era of climate change that is already impacting
our lives with all the devastating weather events like the intense ‘Habagat’
rains and floods and super typhoon Yolanda, which has killed over 6,000 people,
the EcoWaste Coalition insisted.

“During the holidays, we can expect the daily trash generation of almost half a
kilo per person to increase to one kilo or more because of the shopping
frenzies, the rash of parties and the bursting of toxic firecracrackers and
fireworks to greet the New Year,” Vergara stated.

According to the projections of the National Solid Waste Management Commission
(NSWMC),  Metro Manila’s waste generation at over 8,700 tons per day in
2013, of which 52% is biodegradable, 41% is recyclable and 7% is residual
waste, will rise to more than 8,900 tons per day in 2014.

To minimize wasting during the yuletide season, the EcoWaste Coalition recommends
the following practical tips:

1.  First assess what you have before going to the shop. Check for things that
can be repaired, reused, recycled or repurposed before getting new stuff.

2. Jot down all your holiday needs and take this list when you go to a store to
avoid reckless purchase and spending.

3. Say no to plastic bags and bring your own *bayong* or reusable carry bags
and containers when you shop.

4.  Go for quality products that are durable, non-toxic and can be repaired,
reused, recycled or passed on to other users. Avoid single-use disposable

5.  Shun excessively packed items to cut down on packaging waste, and
reuse packaging cartons and other packing materials.

6. Choose gifts with minimal or zero packaging.  Use old magazines or newspapers,
discarded bandannas or fabric scraps if wrapping gifts is desired.

7.  Do not throw away bags, boxes and wrappers of gifts received.
 Keep them neatly stored for reuse next gift-giving season.

8.  Segregate your non-biodegradable discards for repair, reuse and recycling.
 Separate the biodegradable discards from your garden, kitchen and parties
for composting.

9.  Keep discards containing hazardous substances such as batteries,
lamps, paints, insecticides and others safely stored and not mixed with regular

10.  Do not incinerate your discards as this will terminate the resource cycle,
and lead to the formation and discharge of toxic fumes and residues causing
environmental and climate pollution.