Public urged to keep Christmas gift packaging out of dumpsites

A ZERO waste advocacy group urged the public to keep and reuse gift packaging and not to simply rip, crumple and toss such useful resources in the trash bin.

Foreseeing bigger garbage generation from the much-awaited day of gift-giving, the EcoWaste Coalition reminded the public that every piece of gift packaging that is saved for future use will reduce what the group calls as “holitrash” (holiday trash) and prevent environmental degradation.

“We urge recipients to value not only what is inside the gift, but also the materials used to wrap it,” said Tin Vergara, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“A little creativity will help in trimming down the volume of packaging materials sent to dumpsites or landfills for disposal,” she said, adding that a “gram of waste prevention is worth a kilo of environmental solution.”

“Holitrash could be a whole lot less if we opt to reuse and recycle some, if not all, of it,” she emphasized.

The bags, boxes, cards, hampers, packets, wrappers and ribbons that are used by people who still prefer to give wrapped gifts can be reused or repurposed in a variety of ways, the EcoWaste Coalition pointed out.

Christmas paper or plastic gift bags can be reused as carry bags or as pouches for school supplies, class projects, office needs and the like.

Christmas gift boxes can be reused as an organizer to store small toys, trinkets and other knick-knacks, photos and mementos, needles, threads, buttons and other sewing essentials, CDs and DVDs, as well as bills and many other things.

Christmas cards can be turned into bookmarks and gift tags or used as resources for kids’ eco-art and as materials for Christmas card tree and other decorations for the next yuletide season.

Christmas hampers, particularly the native basket or the plastic tray, can be reused as containers for fresh fruits, processed snacks, ornamental plants, etc.

Christmas money envelopes or “angpao” red packets can be reused to keep gift cards and tags, spare ID photos, or turned into instant bookmarks.

Christmas wrapping papers can be reused as book, notebook or photo album cover and as materials for art projects.

Christmas ribbons can be reused as hair bows, garland or leis for festive activities, room ornaments, or simply saved for upcoming Birthdays or for future Christmases.

“While there are countless ways of reusing and recycling Christmas packaging, it is more ecological not to wrap gifts at all,” the EcoWaste Coalition insisted, saying that “gifts from the heart need not unreasonably consume our earth’s diminishing resources.”

As per government data, Metro Manila produces up to 8,600 tons of waste daily (consisting of 50% food and organic discards, 25% plastic, 12% paper, 5% metals, 3% glass, 1% hazardous waste and 4% residual waste) that surge during the holiday season with increased consumption and disposal.

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