Post-Christmas Chore: Recycle “Holitrash” for the Planet

Discards from the jolly gift-giving during the holidays need not exacerbate the country’s garbage woes, the EcoWaste Coalition, an advocate for a clean and healthy environment, said.
“As caring citizens, we have the choice of cutting down the holitrash (holiday trash) by recycling typical Christmas remnants and not just simply throwing them to the waste bins and onto the dumpsites, which are already bursting at the seams due to increased garbage disposal during the festive season,” said Roy Alvarez, President of the EcoWaste Coalition.

“By thinking outside the box, we can repurpose Christmas cards, bags, wrappers and ribbons into functional as well as decorative items. In this manner, we conserve valuable resources from being wasted,” added recycling specialist Ofel Panganiban, a member of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Steering Committee.

As part of its ongoing effort to promote environmental awareness, conservation and protection, the EcoWaste Coalition has come up with a list of 25 suggestions on how to repurpose holiday discards that are unwisely thrown away.
These suggestions were supplied by Ofelia Panganiban of Zero Waste Philippines, Bang Palacio of Sining Yapak, Sonia Mendoza of Mother Earth Foundation, Tessa Oliva of Miriam PEACE, Cathy Untalan of Miss Earth Foundation, Manny Calonzo of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives and Yhet Garcia of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Secretariat.
“Christmas cards with their very beautiful and colorful designs are excellent materials for paper arts and crafts that children can create in school or at home with their parents and siblings,” said Ofel Panganiban of Zero Waste Philippines.
1. Store them in a box for use as decorations next Christmas season. With a little creativity, you can turn these used cards into 1) Christmas tree wall decals, 2) Christmas tree card ornaments, 3) lanterns, 4) party garlands and more.

2. Keep them to make your own Christmas cards next year. Glue parts of the old cards onto a clean cartolina or oslo paper.

3. Reuse them into place mats for your 2011 noche buena salo-salo. Cut the cards to make a creative collage that will fit used “karton” such as pizza boxes, glue them down and let dry.
4. Create little Christmas gift boxes from used holiday cards for the next gift-giving season.
5. Turn the used cards into gifts tags or package decorations for future use by cutting them into desired shapes such as square, rectangle, oblong or circle. You can also turn them into bottled gift tags.
6. Save old Christmas cards and other greeting cards for children’s art and craft assignments.

7. Make “building blocks,” i.e., small boxes, out of Christmas cards for young kids to enjoy and learn from.

8. Cut used Christmas cards into different letters, shapes and sizes and paste on cardboards to make educational flash cards for children.

9. Cut different shapes or figures (animals such as birds or fishes, flowers, fruits, leaves etc.) in matching pairs, glue each pair together, punch a hole, then put abaca, raffia or yarn string in them and arrange into a child-friendly mobile or lacing cards.

10. Cut off the backs of used Christmas cards and reuse them into recipe cards by writing personal or family favourite recipes on them.

“Wrapped Christmas presents should be carefully unpacked, not ripped, to save the wrapping for future use. Recycling Christmas wrapper is good for the planet and avoiding its use is even better,” said Sonia Mendoza, Chairperson, Mother Earth Foundation.

1. Fold used wrappers nicely and reuse them for future presents.

2. Turn glossy wrappers into paper beads to make fashionable paper-based accessories like earrings, necklaces or bracelets, or as evening bags and other functional items.

3. For torn or wrinkled wrapper, reuse them to clean glass and cabinet windows and table tops.

4. Use spare wrappers as liners for clothes drawers or as stuffings for leather shoes to keep them in shape when not in use.

5. Save wrappers for use in various paper crafts such as Origami animals, flowers and other popular objects.

“We’ve been using old paper bags for various uses, including as gift bags. After opening the gifts, we set them aside for carrying things or to reuse for the following Christmas,” said Cathy Untalan, Executive Director, Miss Earth Foundation.

1. Save and reuse gift bags for next Christmas and other gift-giving occasions.

2. Salvage crumpled gift bags and reuse them as containers for cooking staples such as onion and garlic.

3. Reuse sturdy gift bags to carry school, office and personal stuff.

4. Crochet plastic bags into fashionable bags or made into functional ropes.

5. Put aside boxes used as containers for gift toys, shirts, pastries, fruit cakes and other Christmas goodies for future use.

“Ribbons come in many pretty colors and designs that are quite popular among young girls. They are charming accessories for my daughter Aya’s hair,” said Bang Palacio of Sining Yapak.
1. Save ribbons and reuse them over and over again not only during the yuletide gift-giving, but for other occasions as well.
2. Keep used ribbons for children’s school art and craft activities.
3. Repurpose ribbons as hair, bag, shoe and dress accessories. Ribbons can be used as hair bow or as headband adornment. You can also use them to tie or ponytail a little girl’s hair. Also, ribbons are great for jazzing up purses and bags, slippers and shoes, clothes and other fashion items.

4. Reuse ribbons as doll and toy accessories.

5. Recycle ribbons as home ornaments for future parties and special occasions such as to decorate candles, plants and even the windows and stair rails.


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