Amid the pre-Christmas rush, a watchdog group on wastes and toxics appealed to the public to celebrate the joyful season with the well-being of our Mother Earth in mind.
The EcoWaste Coalition noted that the “holitrash” (short for holiday trash) that soars during the weeks of shopping and partying could be reduced through the willful application of the 3Rs mantra: reduce, reuse, recycle.
“It is not waste until it is wasted. We therefore urge everyone to be mindful of what they consume and dispose of during the festive season. Please ‘recyclepamore’ to trim down on what you toss into the bins,” said Tin Vergara, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“The tons of ‘holitrash’ generated in this most cheerful time of year would surely end up in street corners or in distant places where garbage gets buried or burned, or, worst, in the oceans,” she reminded.
Typically discarded ‘holitrash’ include kitchen and food waste, plastic and paper packaging materials, party supplies and leftovers as well as firecracker and firework residuals.
“We surely can do something to avoid our neighborhoods and other communities from turning into, to borrow a phrase from Laudato Si (Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment), ‘an immense pile of filth’. We can and we must reduce, reuse, recycle and waste no more,” she pointed out.
On Tuesday, the group organized an event featuring “Green Christmas Ideas” from making eye-catching decorations out of discards to holding eco-friendly parties and giving alternative gifts.
The group showed how pretty Christmas decorations can be created out of plastic bottles and lids, cardboard and boxes, toilet paper rolls, textile rolls, aluminum and tin cans, chip wrappers, old shirts and fabric scraps, compact discs and even party disposables.
Among the attention-grabbing recycled crafts shown at the event were a Christmas garland fashioned out of used clothes, Christmas tree balls embellished with buttons, glass fragments and snack wrappers, Christmas wreaths consisting of paper cups, a lantern made of junk food wrapper twine, a chandelier and Little Drummers created from pineapple juice cans, Snowman using baking soda and bleaching powder containers, and various forms of angels, Santa Claus and the Three Kings made from an
assortment of recyclable junks.
To minimize post-party garbage, the group urged the public to shun lavish parties, practice a “no left-over” policy to prevent food wastage, practice ecological party waste management and to opt for reusable party essentials instead of disposable plates, cups cutlery and napkin.
As for gift-giving, the group made a pitch for eco-friendly “made in the Philippines” products, as well non-material items that promote good values and sustainable living.
The group suggested giving gifts that require no paper or plastic wrapping. If wrapping is deemed necessary, the group suggested using old bandannas, socks, magazines, newspapers, boxes and jars, as well as recycled pouch bags or the versatile "bayong" instead of the usual Christmas wrappers.