(Photos taken at Quezon Memorial Circle in the morning of 18 December 2016)
As Christmas fever grips the country, the zero waste advocacy group EcoWaste Coalition appealed to the general public to take conscious steps to reduce the volume of the anticipated holiday trash or “holitrash.”
“The spate of holiday festivities is expected to generate extra tons of discards,” noted Ochie Tolentino, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“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.
“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,” she stressed.
For reduced “holitrash,” the EcoWaste Coalition urged the public to be an eco-friendly shopper by bringing their own reusable bags and containers, by buying local as much as possible, by choosing products in the least amount of packaging, and by avoiding both paper and plastic carry bags as well as single-use party disposables.
To cut on food waste, the group reminded consumers to prepare only for what is needed and to ensure that excess foods are properly stored and recycled, or shared with others, particularly with indigent families and the homeless.
Christmas boxes, wrappers and gift accessories, the group suggested, should be kept for the next gift-giving and not simply torn and thrown to the bin. These can also be repurposed as materials for school art and craft activities.
The group further urged the public to sort their discards at source to make reusing, recycling and composting easy and fun.
Recyclable materials such as boxes and papers, soda cans, glass and plastic bottles and other containers can be sold to junk shops or, better, given to informal waste recyclers to bring Christmas cheer to those who help in conserving our planet’s resources.
Biodegradable discards such as fruit and vegetable peelings can be composted at home or at the barangay composting facility.
The group likewise appealed for the non-use of firecrackers and fireworks to welcome the New Year to prevent the generation of toxic emissions and wastes, lower noise pollution and put a stop to tragic paputok-related injuries, deaths and even 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 emphasized.
“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.