AS Christmas approaches, zero-waste advocacy group EcoWaste Coalition has appealed to the public to take steps to reduce the volume of what it dubbed ‘holitrash.’
“The spate of holiday festivities is expected to generate extra tons of discards,” EcoWaste Coalition Zero Waste Campaigner Ochie Tolentino said.
“If we don’t exert any effort to responsibly consume and willfully segregate, reuse, recycle or compost our discards, our throw-outs would surely end up in street corners, empty lots, dumpsites, landfills, incinerators or even in the rivers, seas and oceans,” she pointed out.
“Again and again, we find our bins filled to the brim before, during and after the Christmas and New Year festivities as if we were not yet throwing enough throughout the year,” she observed, noting that the whole country generates over 40,000 tons of garbage per day.
According to waste disposal officials in the city of Imus, Cavite, the volume of trash collected immediately after Christmas is typically double that of a normal collection.
“We generally have to make twice as many trips [to the landfill]right after Christmas, with all the discarded gift wrappers, packages, and other trash that accumulates,” the City Environmental Resources Office (CENRO) said.
“To reduce the environmental impacts of our revelries, we urge all waste generators from households to shopping malls to make it a point to lessen the ‘holitrash’ to the least possible,” Tolentino stressed.
Waste reduction tips
In order to reduce “holitrash,” EcoWaste Coalition recommended shoppers use reusable bags, buy locally-made products as much as possible, and choose products with the least amount of packaging.
When hosting parties, consumers should avoid single-use disposables such as plastic utensils, paper plates,
and plastic cups. To cut down food waste, the group suggested that leftovers be shared with others, particularly with indigent families and the homeless.
Christmas boxes, wrappers and gift accessories, EcoWaste Coalition said, can be recycled for future gift-giving, or reused as materials for school art and craft activities.
The group also reminded the public to sort trash to separate recyclable material, which can be sold to junk shops or given to informal waste recyclers. Biodegradable discards such as vegetable peelings can be used for compost, either at home or at the local barangay composting facility.
Finally, EcoWaste Coalition issued a caution against the use of firecrackers and fireworks to prevent the generation of toxic emissions and waste, and avoid accidental injuries, deaths, or fires.
“Reducing the ‘holitrash’ is certainly a doable gift that all of us can offer to Mother Earth this festive season of giving and sharing,” Tolentino said. “Let’s honor the birth of Child Jesus with a greener, simpler and toxic-free celebration that will not harm the public health and the environment.” she added.