• ‘Organic products, recycling save money and the environment’

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    A single mom has been able to save nearly P3,000 a month on groceries by replacing household products with inexpensive, environmentally friendly homemade alternatives, she told members of the environmental group Haribon Foundation.

    Conservationist Sherry Gocheco shares her knowledge of composting with members of the Haribon Foundation. hariBon FounDation PhotoS

    Sherry Gocheco, a single mother of two and an ardent champion of environmental causes, has been practicing household composting for more than two decades. She recently shared her expertise during the Haribon Meets U! (HMU), a monthly, intimate gathering of Haribon members to learn about the environment and biodiversity.

    Gocheco cited a DENR report that found 54 percent of the total solid waste collected and dumped in landfills consists of biodegradable household wastes. This number, according to Gocheco, can be reduced significantly if more people turned to composting.

    “It was mostly trial and error at the beginning, until I got better through practice and then I did some research and that’s when I started exploring other composting methods,” she said.

    Currently, she keeps a small portion of their backyard as her composting area, where she has tried various ways of composting – from the traditional aerobic method (mixture of soil and kitchen wastes) and vermiculture (composting with the help of worms) to the more unconventional ones, like ‘black soldier fly’ composting and ‘Bokashi’.

    Aside from composting, Gocheco later realized she could further reduce her wastes by minimizing the commercial products she buys. Instead, she learned to make her own. Her homemade shampoo is something that she particularly swears by.

    Students learn the basics of composting at the monthly Haribon Meets U! gathering.

    “I just use baking soda and water for my hair. It doesn’t foam like commercial shampoo, but it cleans just as well,” she explained, even hand-combing her hair to prove just how well her homemade shampoo works.

    “I have also started making my own vinegar. Did you know that vinegar can actually substitute as a fabric conditioner?” she added.

    Out of organic, readily-available materials, Gocheco is able to concoct her own shampoo, toothpaste, laundry detergent, fabric conditioner and all-around cleanser.

    “I used to spend more than P3,000 on groceries alone, but since I started making my own, I rarely go shopping anymore. I help save the environment, while saving money as well! It doesn’t get any better than that,” she said.

    Apart from the obvious financial benefits, Gocheco said her ultimate motivation is her faith and love for the environment.

    “We were given jurisdiction over this earth, hence, we need to be good stewards of God’s creation,” she said. “It feels good to know that I am contributing very little, or none at all, to the landfill. This is a way of life that I am now passing on to my children, with the hopes that the next generation will follow suit.”

    MIKHAELA DE LEON HARIBON FOUNDATION

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