‘Recyclepamore’ this Christmas
CONSUMERLINE - Ching Alano (The Philippine Star) - December 21, 2015 - 9:00am

It’s just a couple of days  and a thousand and one frazzled nerves till Christmas and like me, you probably still have a lot of last-minute things to do. And you’re probably checking your shopping list twice. There are people who do their Christmas shopping early or even year-round (whenever there’s a big sale). But I had a friend who had a not-so-merry Christmas when a thief broke into her house — when all was calm and not so bright — and spirited away all the presents she had meticulously wrapped and scattered around the Christmas tree as early as the first week of December. The thief did his Christmas shopping underneath her Christmas tree! With nothing to give on Christmas Day, she took comfort in the fact that as far as her loved ones were concerned, it was her presence that mattered more than her presents.

To accommodate those coming from work (’tis the season for year-end reports), some malls are open till 11 p.m. until the 23rd when shoppers are expected to be wrapping up their shopping. Or if you thrive on the 11th hour, the malls are open until 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve. But before then, you should already have gone grocery shopping and bought what you needed for your noche buena and the family gathering on Christmas Day — unless you’re opting for takeout food or having it catered, which will save Mom a lot of precious time and aggravation. I always say that the best Christmas gift you can give Mom is an anti-wrinkle cream for all the wrinkles you’ve given her — aside from giving her time for herself or her me-time, of course!

Indeed, Christmas is the “buyingest” season of all. It may be the most joyful but it’s also the most wasteful time of the year. Amid the Christmas rush, EcoWaste Coalition, a watchdog on wastes and toxics, sends out good, thoughtful tidings to all that it’s all right to eat, drink, and be merry, but always be wary and kind to Mother Earth.

The eco group notes that the “holitrash” (holiday trash) that mounts during the season’s shopping and partying frenzy can be reduced through the mantra of the 3Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle. Or to use a colloquial word, “recyclepamore.”

You’re probably amazed at how much waste your single household can generate during the holiday season. “It is not waste until it is wasted,” says Tin Vergara, EcoWaste zero waste campaigner.  “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.”

Tons and tons of holitrash find their way into street corners, where they are left to stink until the garbage collector mercifully picks them up (please pick up the Christmas envelope the garbage truck left behind and return it with a little something for the boys). Or they end up in places where the garbage gets buried or burned, or, worst, in the oceans.

Popular throwaways during the holidays are food wastes, plastic and paper packaging materials, and party supplies.

What to do? “We surely can do something to prevent 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 must reduce, reuse, recycle, and waste no more,” Tin urges and challenges everyone.

Last week, the group dramatized their cause and got everyone green with envy when they  presented  their green Christmas ideas — from making eye-catching decorations fashioned out of discards to holding eco-friendly parties and giving alternative gifts.

First off, the group demonstrated how one can come up with lovely Christmas decorations 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.

And voila! Among the recycled beauties shown at the event were a Christmas garland made 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 junkfood 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 assorted recyclable junks.

Hosting a party? Be the host with the mostest by minimizing post-party trash. Instead of using disposable plates, cups, and cutlery, use reusable utensils. Practice a “no leftover” policy to avoid food wastage.

And if you’re not yet done with your Christmas shopping/wrapping, the group suggests eco-friendly wrappers (like our versatile bayong, old bandanas, which the recipient can also reuse or repurpose, magazines, newspapers, boxes, jars, recycled pouch bags) and made-in-the-Philippines products as well as non-material items that promote sustainable living and good values.

Or, as the song goes, give love on Christmas Day. The greatest gift needs no wrapping at all.


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