Wala ka bang napapansin sa iyong mga kapaligiran? Kay dumi na ng hangin, pati na ang mga ilog natin…
These first two lines from the song “Masdan Mo Ang Kapaligiran” by the band Asin has already been featured many times on the television, radio, government projects, and even school presentations. Yet, today’s environment continues to face irreversible damages brought about by wastes from various sources. The Philippines’ beautiful nickname, Pearl of The Orient Seas, because of it’s paradise-like natural resources, is being threatened by plastic bottles and all sorts of trash that end up in dump sites, landfills, and bodies of water like the sea.
As you spend most of your day in school, have you ever wondered where your scratch papers, leftover meals, old quiz booklets or used pens go? If not properly segregated and managed, these would take hundreds of years to decompose. In a 2010 study conducted by the University of Georgia alone, the Philippines ranks 3rd in the biggest contributors of plastic marine waste in the world, producing an estimated 1.88 million metric tons per year!
So how can you help lessen these trash? Start in your classroom! Here are some tips on how you can lead a zero-waste lifestyle.
1. Reuse old supplies
Prepping your student kits for the new semester? Why spend hundreds of pesos when you can save them for later by using your stuff from last year? Pro tip: Do you have ring binders? Just remove the old fillers and replace it with new ones. This way, you’ll spend less than buying a new whole set.
2. Invest in refillables
Ever had those moments when you are hurrying to finish that class report due tomorrow and suddenly your printer will run out of ink? What a nightmare, right? When shopping for your school supplies, choose refillable brands for your markers, highlighters, notebooks and other stuff. Use refillable cartridges for printers and stock spare containers. Not only will you save money and Mother Nature, but also yourself from the hassle.
3. Bring your own shopping bag
Although more and more groceries nowadays are replacing plastics with paper bags, they can only carry limited items because of their durability. Aside from this, just imagine the number of trees that manufacturers have to cut in order to produce them! Bringing your own reusable and washable materials like eco bags or canvas bags can be a better solution. Whenever you go out, make it a habit to bring one inside your bag, just in case you’ll need it.
4. Go paperless
You can take advantage of this digital age by going paperless. Instead of paper bills, you can try to make payments online. Do you need to post on a bulletin board for some announcements? Send it via email or private messaging instead. Sending out docs to your org mates? Reducing the font size you use for your files can also be a way to lessen paper and ink consumption. Most importantly, print wisely.
5. Unli-rice moderately
#RiceisLife, but did you know that each Filipino wastes an average of 2 tablespoons of cooked rice daily. That is 12% of the country’s annual rice imports and equivalent to the food of 2.5 million Filipinos for a year. The next time you and your friends are out for some unli-rice lunch, just remember to consume just what you need to avoid too much leftovers. After all, it wouldn’t hurt to eat moderately. It can even help you stay fit and healthy in the long!
6. Keep wrappers in your pocket
So you were headed to your class and bought some mint candies. But after you eat it and shared some with your friends, where do these wrappers go? Candy wrappers may seem small, but too much of it not being properly thrown could create a lot of waste. You can help lessen this by putting your “mini” trash inside your pocket or bag, and wait until you get home or find a garbage bin.
7. Donate old stuff
Do you have books that you no longer use? Does your favorite school outfit last semester no longer fits you? Before you decide to throw them all away, why not donate them to a local organization or friends who might need it instead? This will keep a bunch of clothes from ending up in landfills.
8. Choose your “bottles”
You know that bottled water you regularly buy in the cafeteria during breaks? What a thirst quencher, right? But did you know that every single-use bottle thrown contributes to a large percentage of the world’s waste? Why not convert to reusable water bottles like tumblers or water jugs that you can refill every time? Just think of how many bottles you could save from filling landfills, not mentioning the money you’re going to save.
9. BYOB (Bring Your Own Baon)
Have you ever noticed how much packaging your fast-food and convenience store meals have? Bringing your own food at school can keep you from contributing to thousands of plastic utensils, paper cups, and styro plates the Philippines is already dealing with. It can also be a great way to start eating healthy!
10. Walk the talk
Ever since you were in gradeschool, the terms reduce, reuse, and recycle have been taught to you by your teachers. This is YOUR environment and every single thing you do affects the world around you. Knowing that these 3Rs are the only way you can help in saving the place you’re living in, this shouldn’t be hard to follow.