With Christmas just around the corner, a non-profit group campaigning for waste prevention and reduction urged the public to give typical household discards a new lease of life by “upcycling” them into holiday decorations.
The EcoWaste Coalition made a pitch for “upcycling” – or the conversion of discarded materials into something creative and useful – at a joint event with Santo Cristo Elementary School in Quezon City that showcased Yuletide adornments from trash.
“The ‘upcycling’ of discards is a sensible way of reducing the high volume of waste that is hauled to dumps, especially during Christmastime when crass consumption and disposal are at its peak. It’s no secret that our society generates tons of extra waste during the festive weeks of shopping, partying and gift-giving. Also, ‘upcycling’ will help lower our holiday spending and allow us to save hard-earned money for more essential family and personal needs,” said Ochie Tolentino, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“By recycling, we reduce the environmental costs of our merry making, including lessening the demand for virgin materials for new products to be manufactured. This will mean fewer trees cut and mountains mined, more energy saved and decreased amounts of pollutants emitted,” she explained.
“In this era of climate change, we are called to be mindful of what we consume and what we throw away. Ecological consumption is a timely response that, hopefully, will help in restoring simplicity, which is the very heart of Christmas,” she emphasized.
To demonstrate the extent of what can be done with “upcycling,” student representatives of each grade level from kinder to grade six of the Santo Cristo Elementary School made Christmas lanterns out of recycled materials.
Their teachers, on the other hand, prepared a lantern from consumed paper cups, a Snowman from used papers, and a Christmas tree from candy wrappers.
For its part, the EcoWaste Coalition displayed a range of “upcycled” Christmas ornaments from fabric, glass, metal, paper and plastic recyclables.
Some of the more eye-catching “upcycled” Christmas decorations shown at the event include the following:
--- A corrugated board Christmas tree covered with used gift wrappers and newspaper comic strips and adorned with decorations made of used buttons, CDs, softdrink crowns and snack packs.
--- Angels fashioned out of fabric conditioner plastic containers with old shirts for costumes and pan de sal paper bags for wings.
--- Various figures of Santa Claus fashioned out of a corn starch canister, paper and plastic cups, roll-on deodorant and tetra packs.
--- Three Kings with tall softdrink plastic bottles as bodies and printer ink containers as heads.
--- Reindeers crafted from toilet paper rolls, wine bottles and native baskets.
--- Lanterns made of empty cans painted with lead safe paint.
--- A variety of Christmas wreaths and other decorations using empty cans of juice, liver spread and canned tuna, egg trays and plastic bottle lids.
“These ‘upcycled’ items are mere examples. There are countless ways of transforming our discards into functional and, yes, beautiful, things. We can go zero waste or darn close,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.