The EcoWaste Coalition posed the challenge to all candidates as the official campaign period for the May 13 mid-term polls wraps on May 11.
“Win or lose, we call upon all candidates and their supporters to remove and recycle their campaign materials immediately after voting day,” said Tin Vergara, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Voluntarily making May 14 as a cleanup and recycling day is the best way of finishing off a good fight, the nicest way of saying ‘thank you’ to the electorate, and the quickest way of putting the politically divisive campaign behind us,” she said.
“Cleanup participants should as much as possible retrieve and sort the voluminous campaign discards for recycling. The dumping and burning discards are a big no-no in ecological cleanup,” she stressed.
Citing information from junk shops, Vergara said that assorted paper posters, leaflets and sample ballots can be sold for P1 to P1.50 per kilo, and P1.50 to P5 per kilo for tarpaulins.
While most of the paper discards can be safely reused, Vergara cautions against recycling of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) tarpaulins for food packaging or for other uses involving young children as their chemical ingredients such as cadmium, lead and phthalates may leach and cause adverse health effects.
She also warned against burning chlorinated campaign materials, particularly PVC tarpaulins, as this will lead to the formation and release of hazardous substances such as dioxins, the most toxic of all man-made chemicals.
Hidalgo appealed to the public to practice the 3Rs (repurpose, reuse and recycle) to avoid further generating garbage and polluting communities where disposal sites are located.
He further said that the 3Rs will increase 1) the public awareness and participation in environmental action, 2) the activities for resource conservation, and 3) the creation of jobs, especially if done on a wider scale.
The EcoWaste Coalition is a national network of more than 150 public interest groups pursuing sustainable and just solutions to waste, climate change and chemical issues towards the envisioned Zero Waste 2020 goal.