THE unrestricted consumption and disposal of waste during the holiday season is sure to fill dump trucks and dumpsites to the brim unless we learn to be “happy with less and pare down to the essentials,” a Zero Waste advocacy group warned.
The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental network promoting waste prevention and reduction, raised the specter of a garbage-filled Christmas as the most festive time of the year gets underway.
“Bins, lampposts, sidewalks and street corners will again overflow with garbage like in previous years if we do not tone down on what we consume and throw during the holidays,” said Christina Vergara, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
Soaring and stinking holiday trash, or ‘holitrash,’ is definitely not the way to observe Christmas in this era of climate change that is already impacting our lives with all the devastating weather events like the intense ‘Habagat’ rains and floods and super typhoon Yolanda, which has killed over 6,000 people, the EcoWaste Coalition insisted.
According to the projections of the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC), Metro Manila’s waste generation at over 8,700 tons per day in 2013, of which 52% is biodegradable, 41% is recyclable and 7% is residual waste, will rise to more than 8,900 tons per day in 2014.
To minimize wasting during the yuletide season, the EcoWaste Coalition recommends the following practical tips:
1. First assess what you have before going to the shop. Check for things that can be repaired, reused, recycled or repurposed before getting new stuff.
2. Jot down all your holiday needs and take this list when you go to a store to avoid reckless purchase and spending.
3. Say no to plastic bags and bring your own *bayong* or reusable carry bags and containers when you shop.
4. Go for quality products that are durable, non-toxic and can be repaired, reused, recycled or passed on to other users. Avoid single-use disposable products.
5. Shun excessively packed items to cut down on packaging waste, and reuse packaging cartons and other packing materials.
6. Choose gifts with minimal or zero packaging. Use old magazines or newspapers, discarded bandannas or fabric scraps if wrapping gifts is desired.
7. Do not throw away bags, boxes and wrappers of gifts received. Keep them neatly stored for reuse next gift-giving season.
8. Segregate your non-biodegradable discards for repair, reuse and recycling. Separate the biodegradable discards from your garden, kitchen and parties for composting.
9. Keep discards containing hazardous substances such as batteries, lamps, paints, insecticides and others safely stored and not mixed with regular trash.
10. Do not incinerate your discards as this will terminate the resource cycle, and lead to the formation and discharge of toxic fumes and residues causing environmental and climate pollution.