7 Steps to a more sustainable Manila

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If you think living a clean lifestyle is enrolling in yoga class and going on a weekly juice detox, it seems you aren’t “woke” enough for this generation. More and more millennials are going on a conscious effort to reduce, if not outright eliminate, unnecessary post-consumption waste from their daily lives.

With the growing waste problem in the world, of which the Philippines ranks 3rd among countries that leak waste to the oceans, it comes as no surprise that Filipinos are taking proactive steps to put a halt to the situation. Well, with almost everything made available in sachet packages and the absence of an ideal waste management system, a large percentage of waste end up in our waterways and oceans.

Global beverage brand Coca-Cola has set an ambitious vision of reaching a World Without Waste by 2030. Simply put, the Company will be collecting and recycling the equivalent of every bottle and can that they produce.

While giants like Coca-Cola can easily put up efforts to create mindfully-designed and manufactured packaging products, ordinary citizens like us can do our share in the journey to a World Without Waste – after all, who isn’t guilty among us of contributing to this problem?

Here are 7 simple steps on how you can live with a little less waste:

1. Go meatless Mondays

To produce those juicy steaks, massive amounts of water, land, and energy are being sacrificed. In fact, one burger requires up to 660 gallons of water – that’s the equivalent of two whole months of showers within those ten bites—yikes! By reducing your meat consumption, you are reducing the market demand, helping the environment, and even benefitting your own health. A reduction of meat consumption may just lead to a healthier heart, a decreased risk of cancer, and a guilt-free lifestyle.

2. Support your local organic farmers

Why not show off that Pinoy pride by supporting your local organic farmers? Choosing organic produce means that you are opting in for health and opting out of pollutants like pesticides. Even more, when you buy local, you’re saving the energy required for produce to be preserved and transported from faraway lands. Go you!

3. Share your transpo

Let’s be real here: gas is expensive and the Manila traffic has got us clenching our teeth. To solve these issues, simply carpool with your neighbors or hop on the nearest MRT. This way, you can spend quality time with your pals, beat the horrendous traffic, and most importantly, save loads of fuel.

If you’re travelling nearby, however, there’s no excuse to avoid biking or walking. After all, it’s the easiest way to squeeze in that daily dose of exercise for a happier, healthier life.

4. Go thrifting

It’s time to let your inner ‘90s spirit kick into high gear. Whether you are seeking a comfy couch, a knitted sweater, or a chic film camera, head over to a nearby thrift store and venture through the wonderful world of trendy but cheap items. By committing to second-hand consumption, you will not only look hip, but you will also reduce the demand for new products that require abundant energy to produce.

5. Give seeds, not flowers

Since birthdays are about the celebration of life, it’s time you lay off giving people soon-to-be-dead flowers. Instead, why not settle on giving them seeds to plant their own gardens? Not only will it make their house a little cozier and the world a little greener, but it will also make fresh ingredients much more accessible and cheap for them! Now that’s one thoughtful move right there.

6. Turn down the heat

Honey, you’re already drenched in sweat from this 33-degree Celsius temperature, why are you taking even hotter showers? By wisely choosing cold water and limiting your shower to five minutes, you are wasting less energy (unless you have installed solar power, in which case props to you). Additionally, cold showers will also bless you with numerous health benefits like increasing alertness, improving immunity, and much more!

7. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle

Yup, there it is. We know you’ve been taught about it since grade school, but people just aren’t recycling enough. Instead of throwing your PET bottle away, with a bit of creativity you can breathe a second life into it. Use it as pencil holder, a vertical garden, an adorable planter, or an art piece instead–your best friend (cat, dog, or human) will surely give you a big warm smooch for it! Or, you can collect PET bottles and sell it to junk shops to earn a buck or two. In the Philippines, PET bottles are considered as high value plastic, which waste pickers (i.e. “bote-dyaryo kuya and ate”) and/or junk shops collect and recover. According to the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment: Ocean Conservancy Stemming the Tide: Land based strategies for a plastic-free ocean, the Philippines “extraction rates for polyethylene (PET) bottles reach 90 percent” – which means these PET bottles are given a second chance to life by turning them into other useful items, instead of ending up as marine debris.

These seven steps may appear small, but small steps go a long way. Luckily, leading brands like Coca-Cola are moving towards producing conscientious products and raising awareness about this global issue. Recycling is a big part of World Without Waste. After all, a World Without Waste does not mean that there will be no waste, rather, it is a world where packaging and products are mindfully-designed that they can be reused and recycled after each use.

Coca-Cola is producing packaging that is 100 percent recyclable, allowing the PET bottles to have a second life after its content are consumed. Before the World Without Waste campaign, Coca-Cola already achieved and exceeded its water replenishment goal five years earlier than expected, whereby the company replenished an estimated 100% of the water it uses in its final beverages.

You can be a part of something much larger than you have ever imagined. Join the call to realize the vision of a World Without Waste with even the smallest of actions. It’s 2018; a litter free world is possible if we all act together now.

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