22 May 2008

EcoWaste Coalition Offers Parents Green Tips to Beat School Opening Blues

Quezon City. With just a few weeks left before classes resume, an environmental group has made available some green tips that will help parents and their children deal with the usual back-to-school blues.

The green tips, explained the EcoWaste Coalition, are meant to provide parents with some financial relief amid the skyrocketing prices of fuel, rice and bread, while protecting the environment at the same time.

“With the recent fare increments, more families will feel the economic crunch as children get ready for the school opening,” said Rei Panaligan, EcoWaste Coalition Coordinator, adding that “parents will have to make smart choices to stretch the family budget.”

“We can fight the impact of escalating prices by making green choices. Going green will also help conserve precious resources while teaching our young consumers the benefits and economic value of judicious consumption,” Panaligan stated.

Green choices, the EcoWaste Coalition stressed, are creative eco-friendly decisions that will serve real needs without depleting our wallets or causing harm to human health and the environment.

“Even those who have money to spend should think and act with prudence, avoiding wasteful consumption that eats up far more resources than what is actually needed. Given the waste and climate crisis facing the planet, the EcoWaste Coalition urges consumers to shop with the Mother Earth in mind,” Panaligan said.

In a phone interview conducted by interns from St. Scholastica’s College with some members of the EcoWaste Coalition, respondents, mostly mothers and grandmothers, identified practical steps that can help parents deal with the hard times, while being kinder to the planet.

Providing the green tips, mostly targeted to elementary school pupils numbering 13,121,648 in the last school year, were the Buklod Tao, Children's Helper Project, EARTH UST, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Malayang Sining Community Theater, Miriam PEACE, Krusada sa Kalikasan, Sagip Pasig Movement, St. Joseph's Parish Ecology Ministry, Urban Poor Associates and the Secretariat of the EcoWaste Coalition.

1. Discuss with your kids about the beauty and importance of being simple and thrifty, and the need to cut back on wastes and toxins for a healthier and safer environment. Guide them to appreciating recycling and other green practices as essential and fun.

2. Make an inventory of leftover school supplies from the last academic year, collect all bits and pieces and use them up before thinking of purchasing new ones.

3. Hold off from buying new school supplies before classes start. Wait for instructions from teachers regarding the correct number and sizes of required notebooks, pens, art supplies and other materials to avoid buying needless items.

4. Wash old school bags and stitch them up if necessary; try making recycled carry bags for your kids from old denim pants or clothes or from fabric scraps.

5. Collect all clean notebook sheets, rewire or sew them together to make “new” notebooks.

6. Create scribbling or drawing pad from used quiz pads, notebooks and art papers.

7. Check if last year's set of uniforms, including shoes, still fits before getting your children new ones; have them altered or repaired if needed. Pass on outgrown uniforms to other kids.

8. Borrow textbooks and reference materials from friends or scour the second-hand bookshops to save on book expenses.

9. When buying new notebooks and paper supplies, choose those that are made of recycled paper.

10. Get rid of the plastic habit, cover notebooks, text books and exercise manuals with used magazines, newspapers or wall calendars.

11. Go for school supplies that can be reused, recycled, repaired or refilled to cut on waste, and “Buy Filipino” as much as possible.

12. Pay attention to product designs and labels, avoiding products that can be potentially hazardous to children.

13. Reduce the use of plastic bags by bringing a bayong or any reusable carry bag when you shop for back-to-school essentials.

14. To ensure better health and nutrition for your kids, choose only wholesome food such as homemade sandwiches, fresh fruits, boiled egg, or steamed saba, mais or camote. Avoid junk food at all times.

15. Pack your children’s snacks or lunches in reusable containers, not in single-use plastic wrappers or Styrofoam. Avoid unnecessary packaging all the time.

16. Provide your children with a reusable napkin or facial towel; refrain from pampering them with disposable paper napkins or throw-away 'wet towelletes.'

17. Get your kids durable water jugs and train them not to get hooked on bottled water and sugar-filled softdrinks and artificial juices in bottles, cans, foil or tetra packs.

18. Arrange car pool with your friends and neighbors to save on gas and reduce pollution; better still walk or bike with your child if possible.



EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 320, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 9290376
ecowastecoalition@yahoo.com

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