10 December 2019, Quezon City. With holiday shopping and partying getting more intense as Christmas nears, an environmental watchdog group called on the public to exert efforts to make the festive celebration plastic-free and waste-free in line with the basic human right to a healthy environment.
Together with the Barangay Sta. Teresita Council, the EcoWaste Coalition and its members gathered outside the barangay hall in front of the Dapitan Arcade, a popular spot for buying Christmas decorations and bric-a-bracs, to offer consumers some practical tips for a greener Christmas.
“Making this year’s celebration of Christmas plastic-free and waste-free will contribute to the fulfillment of the right to a healthy environment that all persons and communities deserve to enjoy,” said Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Specifically, reducing one’s plastic footprint during this festive occasion and beyond will help in cutting the demand for fossil fuels that causes global warming, and also cut the volume of plastics that is burned, buried or dumped into the oceans,” he said.
The group echoed the statement by the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment saying that “a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment is integral to the full enjoyment of a wide range of human rights, including the rights to life, health, food, water and sanitation.”
With the right to a healthy environment in mind, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the public to observe the following suggestions for a plastic-free and waste-free Christmas:
- Make a shopping checklist to avoid impulse and wasteful buying and overspending.
- Bring your own bayong or reusable carry bags when you shop; refuse plastic or paper bags at the cashier counter.
- Scout around for eco-friendly products before making a purchase; look for goods that are minimally packed, safe, durable, and which can be repaired, reused, recycled or passed on to other users.
- Support local products such as those made or marketed by farmers’ cooperatives and various charities and communities to sustain their efforts toward self-reliance, and to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
- Consider buying in bulk to reduce the cost per unit, as well as to lessen packaging waste.
- Refrain from wrapping gifts and use old magazines, newspapers, fabric scraps or native baskets if wrapping cannot be avoided.
- Carefully unwrap gifts received and save the bags, boxes, bows, ribbons and wrappers, if any, for the next gift-giving season.
- Opt for party items that can be washed and reused instead of single-use plastic plates, cups and cutlery.
- Bring reusable containers for take-out food, as well as for leftovers
- Junk the use of cling wrap, which is not recyclable nor compostable.
- Recycle or share edible food leftovers with the poor.
- Keep soda cans, plastic bottles, cardboard boxes and other recyclable discards to sell to junk shops or to give to informal waste recyclers.
“Heeding our call for an eco-friendly Christmas will go a long way toward promoting sustainable consumption in our households and communities,” said Benosa.
Among the citizens’ groups that joined today’s event were the Nagkakaisang Lakas ng mga Mangangalakal sa Longos, and the Samahan ng mga Mangangalakal ng Scrap sa Capulong, two active associations of non-formal waste recyclers.