Now that 2018 has begun, we can hear people talk about their New Year’s resolutions. But have you noticed that we always say “me” or “I want” and haven’t really considered putting in our list goals that we want to achieve for the betterment of not only the people around us but also our environment?
Aside from celebrating the New Year, little do we know that here in the Philippines, there is also a celebration that is just timely and relevant that we can incorporate into our New Year’s resolution.
Presidential Proclamation No. 760, signed by former President Benigno S. Aquino III, declares January as “Zero-Waste Month.” This is to promote environmental awareness and encourage citizens to establish a zero-waste
community, not only during the first month but whole year round.
What is Zero Waste?
According to Zero Waste International Alliance, “Zero Waste is designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials and to conserve and recover all
resources, and not burn or bury them.” It said zero waste is “a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary,
to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded
materials are designed to become resources for other use.”
Throw away culture: Why do we need zero waste?
The Philippines ranks third among 192 countries with the most volume of plastic waste produced, according
to a recent study of the University of Georgia. In addition, other countries dump their trash to the Philippines,
like the case of Canada.
Today’s “throw-away culture” creates and disposes massive quantities of waste every day. We extract natural resources like trees, metals and mineral and turn them into products designed to last for a short period of time. After we use these products, they all go down to our landfills or incinerators.
Then we go back to extract more natural resources in order to produce more products—as if our natural resources are unlimited. If we continue to do this, we might need three or more planet earths just to keep up with the demand
Over extraction of our natural resources and the high volume of trash that we produce contribute to biological extinction, climate change and natural disasters and the spread of disease.
How to have Zero Waste
A zero-waste lifestyle may sound unattainable to some but it actually takes only baby steps towards it.
For starters, we can simply avoid plastic bags, bottles, straws and utensils. Packaged food should also be a big no. This will urge us to cook and bring our own lunch boxes. We can also resort to healthier snacks such as fruits that don’t come in containers. Through these small changes in our diet, we are decreasing the production of waste in our household, eliminating the toxins from our bodies, and avoiding the intake of unhealthy meals as well.
Furthermore, we can support local organizations and people who advocate for our environment. We can easily reach out to them through social media. It would be much better if we can also be one of them in slowly adopting a less wasteful lifestyle and sharing it with the people around us.
We don’t have to be perfect in adopting these habits or making greener choices. It’s a process of everyday learning.