EcoWaste Coalition Promotes Eco-Friendly Celebration of Christmas to Prevent and Reduce “Holitrash”

As Christmas draws closer, a waste and pollution watchdog group appealed for public cooperation to lessen the environmental impact of the much-anticipated festive celebration.

At an event held yesterday at the San Pablo Apostol Parish in Tondo, Manila, the EcoWaste Coalition partnered with the Canossa - Tondo Children’s Foundation, Inc. to promote practical, creative and eco-friendly ideas to prevent and reduce the massive holiday trash (or “holitrash”) associated with the joyful celebration of Christmas.

Dubbed as “Christmas Saya 2022: Paskong Walang Aksaya,” women and youth from the parish community took part in activities espousing down-to-earth ideas for a greener Christmas such as by reusing waste materials for holiday decorations, creating gifts that come with minimal or zero packaging, and segregating discards into different categories to make waste management safe and easy.

“The joyful remembrance of the Christmas story is an opportunity for Christian Filipinos to rediscover the virtue of simplicity as exemplified by the birth of Jesus in a manger,” said Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition. “Amid the growing threats of throw-away plastic culture to health and the environment, we are reminded to relearn and relive the simplicity of the Nativity and avoid crass commercialism and wastefulness during Christmas and beyond.”

To cut down on the crass consumerism and “holitrash,” the EcoWaste Coalition urged the public to take the following tips to heart”
  1. Make a shopping list to avoid impulse buying and overspending.
  2. Bring your own bayong or any reusable carry bags, and refuse plastic or paper bags at the cashier counter.
  3. Go for eco-friendly products that are minimally packed, durable, and safe, and which can be repaired, reused, recycled or passed on to others.
  4. Support local products made or marketed by farmers, persons deprived of liberty, cooperatives, church and civic groups. 
  5. Consider buying in bulk to reduce the cost per unit, as well as to lessen packaging waste.
  6. Opt for party wares that can be washed and reused in lieu of single-use plastic plates, cutlery and cups.
  7. Junk the use of cling wrap, which is neither recyclable or compostable.
  8. Bring reusable containers for take-out food, as well as for leftovers
  9. Recycle or share edible food leftovers with the needy.
  10. Segregate, not mix, discards at source to avoid contaminating and wasting resources.
As for Christmas gifts, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the public to choose gifts that come with little or no packaging at all and to give gifts that foster good health and ecological balance such as vegetable seeds, kitchen herbs, flower bulbs, tree saplings, organic personal care and cosmetic products, eco-alternatives to plastics, etc.

The group further urged gift-givers to refrain from wrapping gifts, and to use old magazines, newspapers, fabric scraps or native baskets if wrapping is required. Also, the group suggested carefully unwrapping gifts and not to tear them open, and to keep gift bags, boxes, bows, ribbons and wrappers for the next gift-giving season, or as materials for school projects.

Echoing the call of the San Pablo Apostol Parish, "let us live our faith by loving our neighbors and caring for the environment,"  the EcoWaste Coalition said.