Reduce plastic waste, embrace sustainability this holiday season – Legarda

December 22, 2020
MANILA, 22 December 2020 — As the country continues to grapple with the unprecedented climate crisis and COVID-19 pandemic this holiday season, Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda urged the public to celebrate safely and sustainably by cutting back on plastic wastes.
Legarda noted that the Christmas season produces a massive volume of garbage in the country, especially with the Filipino practice of gift giving, holding gatherings, Christmas parties, and various holiday events.
“The Yuletide season offers a meaningful occasion to give and share our blessings to others. But the top retail shopping season of the year also creates loads of extra trash and solid waste, including single-use plastics, beyond what is normally generated,” Legarda stressed.
A United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report cites the Philippines as 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 waste, 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 need to ensure safety standards that will minimize contamination and further spread of virus. Many are resorting to disposables for food and other deliveries, and likewise in the medical sector.
“Let us all be reminded that celebrating the holiday season should not be done at the expense of our environment. Caring for the environment, after all, is everyone’s concern all year round,” Legarda added.
Legarda recommended some simple actions an individual can do to limit the use of single-use and other 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
• Re-gift unused belongings
• Skip unnecessary gift wrap, or reusing wrapping bags, papers, cards, and ribbons while avoiding shiny and glittery material
• Make homemade gifts such as 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.
“The holiday season should be a reminder to embrace sustainability into our daily consciousness and behavior. Let’s give our planet a good Christmas by refusing single-use plastics and reducing our carbon footprint,”  Legarda concluded. ###