Christmas season produces the biggest volume of garbage in the country, especially with the Filipino practice of gift giving, having special family meals, Christmas parties, and various holiday events.
According to a report of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the Philippines is the fourth largest generator of solid waste among ASEAN countries, with 14.66 million tons of trash per year. It is projected that the country’s yearly waste may even rise to 18.05 million tons in 2020 – 10.55% of which are plastic wastes, according to the Environment Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-EMB).
The COVID-19 pandemic has even magnified the problem on plastics as people needed to ensure safety standards that will minimize contamination and further spread of virus. This led to utilizing easily disposable items, such as those used for food and other deliveries, and likewise in the medical sector.
Here are some of the simple individual actions everyone can do to limit the use of plastic products this holiday season. This includes the following:
Bring reusable bags when shopping for gifts
Buy reusables as presents – water jugs, tote bags, bamboo straws
Buy local products
Buy toys not made from plastic
Buy second-hand/vintage items
Regift unused belongings
Avoiding shiny and glittery cards and wrapping papers
Reuse wrapping bags, papers, cards, and ribbons
Make homemade gifts – baked goods, knitted wearables
Avoid plastic Christmas decorations; Reuse old decorations or DIY
Avoid using plastic dinnerware
Bring your own leftover containers
When travelling, prepare snacks from home instead of buying snacks and drinks from convenience store.
Holiday season should be a reminder to integrate the concepts of circular economy and sustainable consumption into everyone’s daily consciousness and behavior.