Shopping during the Holiday season could become more awesome and sustainable. With enough creativity and resourcefulness, we can reduce the environmental impact shopping brings to our planet, particularly to our seas.
Based on the recent figures released by the Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey Center for Business and Environment, the Philippines ranked as the third-largest contributor to ocean waste in the world producing 2.7 million metric tons of plastic garbage each year. It was also revealed that 20% or 52,000 tons of these plastic waste end up in our seas. On top of these solid wastes, there has been a surge in disposables used for the COVID-19 response, which adds to the solid waste generated during the year.
To help lessen these types of waste as we do our traditional Christmas routines, SM Cares, through its #aweSMseas campaign, encourages everyone to celebrate an #aweSMChristmas by observing eco-conscious practices. Here are some tips that you might want to consider this Christmas:
Green Giving. When thinking of the right gift for your loved ones, try to explore gifting Earth-friendly products, such as food, reusable cutlery, food containers, and home-made items. For the so-called “plantitos” and “plantitas”, giving them plants as Christmas presents would make them satisfied and would train them to become more environmentally responsible not only for the plants they grow, but for nature as well.
Sustainable Gift Wrapping Ideas. Gift wrappers don’t need to be fancy and costly. Make your gifts more personal and creative by designing them using recycled paper and ribbons, or even natural string or raffia. If you opt to buy new gift wrappers, try to consider buying tote bags that can be used for a longer period of time instead.
Reusable Food Containers, Cutleries, and Tumblers. Christmas gatherings will not be complete without food and oftentimes, we use too many disposables like plates, plastic spoon and fork, and plastic cups when eating our favorite dishes during parties. These single-use plastics will most likely go to trash bins, so try using reusable food containers and tumblers instead. With these reusable containers, you don’t just monitor your diet by getting the food you can only eat, you also help prevent food wastage, contribute to a cleaner environment, and lessen the risk of transmitting viruses.
Reusable Shopping Bags. Include reusable bags in your grocery and shopping plans this Holiday season. It is more stylish and convenient, and would surely consume less plastic packaging. If you happen to visit SM City Bacolod, SM Cares, in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation, Inc., will be giving away free reusable shopping bags to the first 1,000 shoppers to visit the #aweSMseas booth. Each bag has a unique QR code to track its usage. The initiative was purposely launched during this season to encourage a changed mindset and a renewed behavior that patronizes a “green lifestyle.”
“It goes without saying that we produce a lot more plastic waste during the holiday season than we would any other time of the year. So, for us to be able to adopt more sustainable shopping habits, the way to start is by eliminating our use of plastic bags and opt for reusable bags instead,” said Sef Carandang, Trustee, Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation, Inc.
“As we go about our usual activities during the holiday rush we sometimes fail to remember how much waste we are producing and the potential damage this is causing to our environment. This is why it is important that we shift to more sustainable shopping habits to lessen the amount of waste that goes into our seas. The United States supports effective recycling and waste management solutions,” said John Edgar, Environment Director, USAID Philippines.
Through this effort, SM Cares hopes to turn your Holiday shopping into a sustainably awesome experience through a Reusable Bag initiative under its #aweSMseas campaign. This effort also shows SM’s commitment to raising eco-conscious habits among its stakeholders by providing our shoppers with sustainable alternatives to plastic bags.
“As we start thinking of what gifts to buy for our loved ones, this is the perfect time to also remember our collective responsibility to the environment. Being eco-responsible is the best gift that we can ever give to Mother Nature this holiday season, which is why we urge everyone to look at sustainable ways to get rid of their solid waste,” said Engr. Liza B. Silerio, Vice President, SM Supermalls.
Shoppers are encouraged to get the limited edition bag for free and participate in a behavior change survey that will help SM, USAID, and PRRCFI determine people’s propensity towards the usage of reusable bags. Free #aweSMseas reusable bags will be available at the #aweSMseas booth from November 15 to December 5, 2020, at SM City Bacolod, South Wing, SM Cinema area (in front of Dave’s Fun House).
The #aweSMseas campaign is an IEC partnership of SM Cares with the USAID and PRRCFI which aims to promote positive behavioral change among Filipinos on plastic-use and its negative impact on the environment. The campaign also hopes to encourage people to be involved in keeping our seas plastic-free by being responsible and mindful in their daily choices.
Other environment and sustainability programs of SM include SM by the BAY’s quarterly cleanup drive; Solar panel rooftop installations which promote the use of clean energy; Water recycling treatment for all malls wherein all recycled water is used back for non-potable and industrial needs; the Automated Weather Stations; the monthly Trash-to-Cash Recycling Market; and the Green Film Festival, to name a few.