17 December 2019, Quezon City. A waste and pollution watchdog group urged the public to take steps to reduce their plastic footprint as family, school, workplace, church and barkada get-togethers are held during the joyful yuletide season,
In keeping with the first “R” of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), the EcoWaste Coalition has come up with ideas, which, if carried out, could help in cutting the volume of single-use plastic (SUP) waste generated in countless Christmas and New Year parties.
“With parties happening left and right, we see loads of disposable plastics being bought, used and disposed of. Right after the merrymaking, we see these SUPs being thrown in the bin as quickly as these are used. Just look at the bin or the dumpster and you will easily see evidence of the pervasive throw-away culture, which SUPs have come to represent,” said Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“We should no longer think single-use plastic plates, cutlery, water bottles and straws, as well as grocery bags and food packaging, are cheap. SUPs, which are petroleum products, are anything but cheap considering the huge costs of plastic pollution, from production to their disposal, which are not reflected in their actual price,” he said.
“We now need to rethink the so-called cheapness and convenience of SUPs amid the increasing threat of plastic and toxic pollution to the natural environment, including sea life,” he pointed out.
“As we ask producers to curb the production of SUPs and hasten the introduction of sustainable product packaging and delivery systems to reduce plastic and chemical wastes, we also ask consumers to curb personal consumption of SUPs,” he added.
To help in reducing the purchase, use and disposal of SUPs, including Styrofoam items, the EcoWaste Coalition urged party organizers, as well as partygoers, to try these ideas for plastic-free yuletide parties:
- First and foremost, plan for a waste-free and plastic-free party.
- Refrain from putting up plastic banners and shun the use of plastic bags as buntings, especially for street parties. Keep decorations simple and plastic-free.
- Go for reusable tablecloths instead of one-time use table covers.
- Have a drink dispenser as a replacement for single-serve bottled juice, soda or water.
- Serve drinks in reusable glasses.
- Ditch plastic straws.
- Bring your own reusable takeout containers for food to be bought elsewhere.
- If ordering food online, cut back on plastic cutlery, wrap and bags.
- Serve food on reusable plates and bowls with matching cutlery that can be washed and reused.
- If your stock of reusable party essentials is not enough, consider borrowing additional dishes and cutlery from friends or neighbors.
- For bigger celebrations, consider renting party supplies such as tablecloths, cloth napkins, drink dispensers, serving trays, plates, spoons, forks, knives, etc.
- Put a “zero food waste” reminder on the table.
- Put segregated waste bins on display.
- Send leftovers home in reusable jars.
- Compost food scraps.