Have you ever thought about how many times a day you throw an item into the trash?
That coffee cup you ordered at your favorite cafe this morning. The plastic water bottle you purchased before your workout. Even the bottles of your shampoo and conditioner in your bathroom will probably end up laying waste in a landfill once you’re done with them.
With the average Filipino producing over half a kilo of garbage per day, landfills in the the country are filling up fast and are expected to reach capacity in a few short decades.
A Greener Lifestyle
While the solution to the Philippine’s trash problem is multi-faceted, an emerging trend of Filipinos adapting a zero-waste lifestyle – which collectively can make a real impact – seems to be gaining momentum.
Filipina millennials, Dani Rodriguez and Chrissie Torres, were inspired to adapt this green lifestyle by Lauren Singer – a young graduate who has gained global recognition (including a Ted talk) for living a zero-waste lifestyle in New York.
“I always thought helping the environment and making an impact needed big actions, but zero waste is something that, when done collectively, can do so much good,” shares Chrissie.
Dani and Chrissie have acknowledged that they have always been environmentally conscious, but it was when they discovered the simplicity of the zero-waste concept, they knew it was about time to start aligning their actions with their values.
Both ladies quickly incorporated lifestyle changes into their daily routine, such as swapping to a Phillipine-made compostable bamboo toothbrush from a plastic toothbrush to making their very own soaps and toothpaste.
Although the change can be daunting for some, the girls explain that it’s important to start small.
“If you buy coffee every morning, then bring your own reusable jug next time. That rule applies when you workout too or simply avoiding any single-use containers. Recycle what you can before throwing out the trash. Bring reusable bags the next time you go grocery shopping”
The girls explained that practicing a zero-waste lifestyle have eliminated unnecessary clutter in their life and came with some other benefits including the ability to save money, eat cleaner, and reduce exposure to toxic chemicals.
Like any lifestyle transition, Dani and Chrissie still encounter challenges to this day. For instance, package-free shops and eco-friendly products are still not widely accessible to the general public.
In her Minimal Manila blog, Dani shares an experience where she had to remind a waiter numerous times to not serve her drink with a plastic straw. She also noticed a sheer lack of garbage cans and and poor waste management at the recent GoodVybes music festival held at ASEANA City Open Grounds.
“I would say that zero waste is something I hope more and more people look towards doing. The impact of one person doing zero waste goes such a long way throughout their lifetime,” she says.
While the zero-waste lifestyle is still a generally new concept in the Philippines, any lifestyle adjustments to reduce environmental impact is something that we should all practice. Just think of it as a way of giving back to Mother Earth for everything she’s given us.